Last night I had the opportunity to see the Reileros of Aguascalientes the baseball team in a city where baseball has a long history. When the railroad was being built Mexican and American workers began to play baseball games to relax. The first baseball stadium in the city was there before 1910. Aguascalientes is a city in the center of Mexico. It has about the same area population as Sacramento. Last night both the soccer and baseball stadiums (which are next to each other) were active - the soccer stadium has about 25,000 seats. The team name is a railroad worker which is fitting for a town so deeply imbedded in trains and logistics.
The baseball is somewhat equivalent to Single A play in the US. They did not clock the pitching but my guess is that a fast ball came in at about 85. The pitchers also were not great on control. They also did not post a pitch count last night - in part because it was not necessary with a total of 13 pitchers used between the two teams. The opponents in this game were the Acereros del Norte and in one part of an inning their pitcher did 16 balls out of 20 pitches. A good indicator of the quality of pitching is the relative batting averages. The Reileros are next to last in their division with a .462 average. (48-56) The league has a ton of hitters with .300+ batting averages. With a record of eight games under .500 - their team batting average is .288. Last night between the two teams there were 6 home runs. The stadium is not a toy box with center at 400 and right and left at 340.
The best ERA in the league is 4.23. The Reileros have a combined ERA of 5.81. The lowest individual ERA in the league is with a Reilero pitcher named Paul Oseguera and his ERA is 3.0.
We left in the top of the fifth (I had a very early plane this morning) and when I checked the home team was down 11-6. The game ended up 15-10. The Reileros had 10 runs,15 hits and 2 errors and the Acereros had 15 runs18 hits and 1 error.
There are some other distinctions about this league based on seeing two games (I saw a game in Oaxaca several years ago). First, like many other things Mexican, this is a family affair. It is fun and low key. Kids are welcome, so are grandparents. There is lots of noise and cheering. Second, they use a lot of the same things like CHARGE that we use in American baseball. A ball is called a bola - but a strike is a strike - there is a mix of English and Spanish in the terminology of the game. Third, there is a wider range of ages for the players - there are several in the league who have a 1970 birthdate. Finally, both teams were allowed a lot of leeway in the pace of the game. There were a lot more conversations allowed between the manager and his pitcher, than would be allowed in an American park. It was a fun evening.
The last picture in the set here is retouched, while I was waiting for the plane to Sacramento I had the chance to work with a new APP that allows different effects on photos.