Writing > Catching up with some games I forgot to write about

June 24, 2012: Catching up with some games I forgot to write about

Diablos Rojos del México 5 Rojos del Aguila de Veracruz 0
7:00pm Friday June 8, 2012
Time: 2:28
Attendance: 3,795

Diablos Rojos del México 8 Rojos del Aguila de Veracruz 7
12:00pm Sunday June 10, 2012
Time: 3:42
Attendance: 4,353

Diablos Rojos del México 5 Olmecas de Tabasco 4
7:00pm Friday June 15, 2012
Time: 2:46
Attendance: 3,765

Diablos Rojos del México 7 Sultanes de Monterrey 4
Diablos Rojos del México 6 Sultanes de Monterrey 5
1:00pm Thursday June 21, 2012
Time: 2:30 and 2:21
Attendance: 3,879

Diablos Rojos del México 2 Broncos de Reynosa 9
4:00pm Saturday June 23, 2012
Time: 3:12
Attendance: 2,653

It's been a good month for the Diablos. They've been winning more games, the pitching has gotten better, and for the first time since their opening defeat of Tigres de Quintana Roo, they're over .500. And as they've been getting better, teams above them have been stuttering. They're still outside of the playoff positions (they're 5th in the Zona Norte and the top four of the eight-team division go to the playoffs), but only just. I've been to eight games this month, and they've won seven of them.

By far the best game I've seen this month was back on June 8, when they beat Rojos del Aguila de Veracruz 5-0 in 2 hours 28 minutes. (It was the swiftest game I've ever seen in Mexico.) Starting pitcher Irwin Delgado, a 22-year-old lefty, was fantastic. For five and a half innings, it was a wonderfully tight affair. A Mario Valenzuela solo home run in the bottom of the first gave the Diablos the lead, and that was it until the bottom of the sixth when the Aguilas' pitcher Tomas Solis let things get away from him a bit and gave up four more runs. Delgado, though, was outstanding. He started the season in the bullpen, and has since been great, especially when compared to his fellow Diablos pitchers. He's consistent, which is a nice change.

He's only given up more than four hits in a game three times in his ten starts. Against the Aguilas, though, he struck out seven, walked two, gave up four hits in a complete game shut out, the first complete game of his young career. At the end, he looked so very excited, hugging the catcher. The only thing that marred his performance was having to do it against a team in a truly fucking awful uniform. Grey hat with a red bill, dark blue jersey with a red undershirt, grey pants, red socks.

On the 10th, I went to the Sunday noon game against the Aguilas. Mad dogs, Englishmen, and the Liga Mexicana... It was also one of those games where I don't actually remember a huge amount about it. I find that now and then, there'll be a game where the game seems to happen in front of me without really paying much attention. The Diablos put up a 7-0 lead in the first two innings, and the Aguilas then set about chipping away. A run in the third, a run in the fourth, a run in the fifth, a run in the sixth, and, with the usually fairly dependable closer Winston Abreu on the mound, the Aguilas got to work and tied the game. I was ready to go home, frankly, so Ivan Terrazas' walk-off homer in the 10th was very welcome indeed.

One of the things the Diablos organization do badly is information. Go to their Web site, and you'll be hard pressed to find much news about player injuries, transactions and, y'know, baseball stuff. Instead, their site, Facebook page, and Twitter is all "Vamos Diablos!" ALL CAPS bullshit, links to videos of that bloody Gary Glitter song the fans seem to love so much, photos of the crowd. Wanna find their results from a couple of months ago? Well, you gotta go manually through each day of the calendar, clicking through to the MiLB box score. Can't just glance at how they did in May. Oh no, of course not. Who cares about the baseball when you can look at a picture of the idiot mascot hugging a child? Another thing they do badly is doubleheaders. They do do them well in the sense that you buy one ticket and you see both games, but doubleheader games are only seven innings.

And, like happened earlier this week, when Wednesday's game was rained out, there's very little info about whether the game is gonna be cancelled. Their Facebook page filled up with people asking if it was going ahead because, understandably, people don't wanna make the pain-in-the-arse trek to the ballpark if there's gonna be no game. And those questions were left unanswered for a couple of hours until the delay turned into a postponed game. Thursday would be a doubleheader. You got a ticket for Thursday's scheduled 7pm game: fuck you. The double header started at 1pm. Two seven inning games will not last until 7pm, even if a ticket holder did wanna see a couple of innings of the game. For all the woo hoo we are your team shite, they do a hideous job of keeping people on the right side. Attendance is shit enough without pissing people off.

One good thing they've been doing (primarily because there's a sponsor) is giving away a series of baseball cards of Diablos players throughout the team's history. But, you go to the "wrong" gate to enter the park, there's nobody there giving them out. Or you arrive on time for the game, they're not ready; only latecomers get them. It's just piss poor really. Attendance has been awful this season, rarely above 4,000 a game. They seem to be trying to do things to change that, but they're doing the wrong things. They're painting the car a new colour rather than fixing the engine.

I love watching Mexican baseball. I love that the ticket and concession prices don't assume you've got Donald Trump's pockets, but sometimes, I'd love to go to a game in the States, just to be reminded that it can be a nice experience. As it was, the Diablos won both games of the doubleheader against division leaders Sultanes de Monterrey. Still, there was one thing that managed to piss me off during the second game before my darling sweetheart favourite player Leo Heras hit a three-run walk off homer. Again, it's something that shows disrespect to the actual baseball fan. Top of the seventh (ie. the final regulation inning of the game) is when the announcer decided to do the thing where someone in the crowd proposes to his girlfriend. Music, cameras, people throwing rice, most of the crowd paying attention to this nice moment. Hold the fuck on: the reason we are here in going on in front of us, and the organisation is painting the fucked-up car again. I am a grumpy sod, obviously.

Yesterday's loss to Broncos de Reynosa was the first home defeat in a while. Of the games I've been to, they were on an eleven game winning streak. Had to end sooner or later, of course. It was one of those RISP FAIL games. Can't win 'em all.

On a personal level, the only real disappointment is the timing of my forthcoming vacation: I'm gonna miss the series against one of this season's new teams, Delfines del Carmen. They are the only team in the Mexican League who I've not seen this season. Still, there's always next season for that. And fuck it, I'm going on holiday, and baseball will be very far from the front of my mind for two weeks.