Writing > Lots of empty seats

March 28, 2012: Lots of empty seats

Diablos Rojos del México 8 Leones de Yucatán 7 (10 innings)
7:00pm Tuesday March 27, 2012
Time: 4:10
Attendance: 1,386

The attendance at last night's game was the lowest I've ever seen at any professional baseball game in Mexico. Attendance here tends to be up and down quite dramatically, even discounting home openers and play-off games. Weekend games tend to be pretty well attended; midweek evening games, not so much. But even so, for the second home game of the season, 1,386 is woeful.

Still, were it not for the handful of Leones "fans" bashing loud drums one section over, it would've been thoroughly pleasant to be in a quiet crowd, sleepily watching good and bad pitching, a seemingly-endless stream of passed balls, and some inept baserunning, interspersed with 26 hits. The quotation marks around the word fans in the previous sentence is because they weren't really Leones fans. There were some of those around, but these guys were at a lot of games last season, and have been at both games so far this year. They wear black short-sleeved shirts with the Diablos logo on the back, with a red circle around it and a red line through it, like a "no smoking" sign. They turn up with drums, face masks, and the same shirts and root for whichever team is visiting. They really seem to enjoy hating the Diablos. But, oddly, it seems to be just for the fun of it. They like getting into shouting matches with Diablos fans, and Diablos fans seem to like it, too. There is no ill will.

The ballpark DJ played Domino Dancing by the Pet Shop Boys and Suedehead by Morrissey. He also played that bloody Maroon Five song "Move Like Jagger" way more times than is allowable by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I have, though, had a dislike for that band since the very first moment I heard "This Love." The song itself is blandness spread out over three tedious minutes. It's the video, though, that makes me really dislike them. The singer dude just behaving like a dick right from the off, mugging to the camera while he's faking love to a pretty lady. And there's one moment where he rests his elbow on the guitarist's shoulder, then just shoves him away. The camera follows singerboy, but I've always hated that feeling of, "get off the screen, I'm the singer!" Obviously, this is all in my head, and probably not something singerboy ever thought of. Anyway, I don't like "Move Like Jagger." The Kanye West song he did was good, though.

Last season, if you were a beer drinker, there was the overwhelming choice of two beers: Corona or Victoria. Fine by me, I like both. This season, the team's beer sponsor has changed. Now it's Modelo. Fine by me, again. I like Modelo Especial and Negra Modelo. But, but, but: the only Modelo beer they sell to patrons: Modelo Light. No other option. I guess it's good for the panza, though.

Diablos got off to a flying start, taking a 3-0 lead in the first, Japhet Amador hitting an RBI double, follwed immediately by a Mario Valdez home run. All going swimmingly for everyone but the Leones pitcher. Until the top of the second, when the Diablos pitcher Julio Meteo got in on the act, giving up back-to-back home runs, a hit-by-pitch, a double, a pitcher error off a bunt, and another home run. 6-3 Leones. He was yanked after 1.1 IP.

After that, for four more innings, the pitchers had the best of things. Diablos got a run back in the fifth, but it wasn't until the seventh that the bats livened up. Fernando Valenzuela Jr. hit an RBI double in the top of the seventh which, at the time, felt like the nail in the coffin. The tiny crowd was very quiet after that, but, in the bottom of the inning, the Diablos showed some life: two singles followed by a Japhet Amador triple made it 7-6. (And, by the way, fat men running out a triple: one of the best things in sport.) He got cocky, though. A passed ball that went to the backstop, and he was lumbering home. But he just couldn't lumber fast enough. Mario Valenzuela walked, Carlos Valencia ground-rule-doubled him home. Tie game. 7-7. And so it stayed into the eighth, and into the ninth, and into the tenth.

I changed seats at that point. It was 11pm. To get home takes two subway trains. The trains stop at midnight. I'd have to peg it to the station to have any chance of not being stuck trying to grab an expensive taxi to take me home. Bottom of the tenth, and after one quick out, Leo Heras walked, Ivan Terrazas walked, and Oscar Robles singles to left, and Heras came round to dive at the plate, and break a three game losing streak.

There are video highlights of the game here.