Is everybody enjoying some playoff baseball? Pretty good, competitive series so far, right?
To be completely honest, I haven't really gotten into it much. I'm a cord-cutter, so with the AtBat app and my grandma's cable info, I've been able to watch a handful of American League games, but none of the National League side. Most of the interesting storylines (at least for me) have been on the NL side, so not being able to follow it outside of Twitter has been pretty underwhelming for me.
But I haven't really minded. In fact, I've been watching more baseball than usual.
A few weeks ago, I caught preseason game between some Liga Mexicana del Pacifico teams; Las Águilas de Mexicali and Los Naranjeros de Hermosillo. They played at the Dell Diamond in Round Rock, and despite knowing almost none of the players (save Xavier Paul, who was playing for Mexicali), I had a blast.
Normally, even in minor league games, I'm aware of who the top prospects are, and part of me is excited to watch them so that maybe, just maybe, I can say that when they make it to the majors, "I remember them when..."
This is not the case in the Mexican winter league. There's a good variety of former major leaguers, career Mexican leaguers, and up and coming players that just might make it big. It's pretty fun not knowing much about any of the teams and players and learning as I go.
I was pretty bummed to find out that there are no Liga Mexicana del Pacifico baseball cards. SO, I made a few on the Just Rookies app. I've designed a few but never purchased and printed them. Don't know if I'll pull the trigger on any of these, but they were fun to make. Luis Juárez is my favorite player. Even though Mexicali lost the game I saw, he was fun to watch, and he was named the first Player of the Week for the season. I also found a picture of their bat guy, which ties in nicely to the current playoff scenario.
Yuniesky Betancourt is one of the former MLBers on the Águilas, though he has been pretty bad in the games that I've watched. Ramón Ríos has been one of the better hitters for the team as well.
Ramón Urías is the older brother of one of the Padres top prospects, Luis Urías. It's been cool to listen to them talk about how well Luis did this year. The announcers definitely keep the viewers up to date on the Mexican players in the major leagues. They are big fans of Adrián González. Chris Roberson is the Águilas leadoff man and centerfielder. He probably has the most pure talent of anyone on the squad, though his stint in the majors was a short 72 plate appearances.
Between the chance to practice my Spanish - at one time I was completely fluent, but I've gotten rusty - and learning a new league, it's been really fun to watch. I've only missed a game or two, but I get updates sent directly to my phone, and have live-tweeted the games a few times - though none of my Twitter followers seem particularly interested.
Anyways, there's a few players on the Águilas that had cards made on other (MLB) teams that I'll be trying to track down:
Yuniesky Betancourt - Mariners, Royals, Brewers
Xavier Paul - Pirates, Reds, Dodgers
Chris Roberson - Phillies
Welington Dotel - Mariners
Xorge Carrillo - Mets
Onelki Garcia - Dodgers
Fautino de los Santos - A's
Jake Sanchez - A's
Edgar Osuna - Braves
Most of them only had a cup of coffee in the majors, or just showed up in Bowman releases as prospects. I'll probably do a Just Commons run to see what they have there, but I'll hold off until later in the season.
Anybody else a fan of the winter leagues? For what it's worth, I am extremely satisfied with the LMP's streaming service (though it's not nearly as professional as MLB's), and it only cost $499 for the season.
Wait, that's in pesos. It costs $21 for the entire season's worth of games (October til January).
I love it. I'll try to catch a few World Series games because it's hard to top the World Series, but I'm not sure that my fandom of the LMP is a fad. It's good stuff.