Entertainment

Mexican And American Fans Came Together For A Weekend Of Baseball And Celebration In Mexico

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On Cinco de Mayo weekend, the San Diego Padres hosted the Los Angeles Dodgers at the Estadio de Beisbol in Monterrey. The three-game matchup, dubbed the “Mexico Series,” marked the third time a regular season series was played in Monterrey, Mexico.

There was a buzz in the city, from the Macroplaza, where the MLB Fan Fest was being held…

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… To the stadium, where Dodgers fan favorite Kiké Hernandez showed off a few moves during batting practice.

Mexican star Christian Villanueva, who plays third base for the Padres, was all business:

Fans at the stadium got hyped when Dodgers third baseman came out to sign autographs.

They had a reason to by hyped: it was the first time in 19 years that Major League Baseball was played in Monterrey.

A large contingent of U.S. fans also made the trip to Monterrey, and we caught up with several fans who couldn’t pass up a chance to see their favorite team play in Mexico.

Hilda Valencia and friends – Los Angeles, California.

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Hilda Valencia, who grew up playing softball says she thought “the set-up was perfect.”

“Being Mexican-American and coming from a first generation family with traditional parents, it’s just something that you wanted to come and experience.”

Valencia says she was intrigued to see how Mexican fans react: “We walked in and there was an older guy and his dad and he asked us to take a photo of them. It warms your heart. You know that baseball is a worldwide sport and when you see that, it warms your heart.”

Christopher Rodriguez and family – San Diego, California.

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Christopher Rodriguez, whose family is from San Diego, made the trip to support his childhood team: “We wanted to come out here and make some noise.”

Rodriguez says he became a fan during his teenage years in San Diego. “We started going to Qualcomm Stadium first, before Petco Park was built, and that’s how it all started. In right field, with Tony Gwynn, who used to play out there. Now, my son’s here with me and he’s following my footsteps.”

Vicente Reyes and friends – Los Angeles, California.

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As a child, Vicente Reyes bonded with his father over baseball: “My dad used to play in a Sunday league back in L.A. and growing up, we didn’t have cable TV, so what I would do is wait for him to get home from work and we would listen to [Los Angeles Dodgers Spanish-language broadcaster] Jaime Jarrin on the radio. That’s how my love with baseball started.”

Reyes is no stranger to following the Dodgers on the road: he says he attended 104 MLB games last year. “I’m already into the 20s starting May, so I’m planning and hoping to attend more than 120 games this season,” says Reyes.

Edgar Soto and friends – San Diego, California.

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Edgar Soto says baseball runs in his family: “It was a rite of passage to become a baseball fan, even most of my family members are Dodgers fans. Since I’m from San Diego — born and raised — I’m a Padres fan.”

Soto says he and his friends couldn’t pass up a chance to see their favorite team play in Mexico. “A city like Monterrey, obviously you want to come and visit, so we wanted to kill two birds with one stone.”

Soto and friends, who have followed the Padres for games in Los Angeles and Phoenix, says they’ve already got another city in sight: “San Francisco is our next trip.”

Randy Barragan and family – Downey, California.

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Randy Barragan said the Mexico Series was a bit of a no-brainer: “I have family here in Monterrey and we’re big Dodger fans so we put two and two together and made it a trip.”

Barragan, a big fan of the Tommy Lasorda-era Dodgers, says his father was a big influence on his love of baseball. “My dad, he would buy the mini plans — five or six games — and then he got me into the Jr. Dodgers Kids Club, where you paid a fee, mailed it in and you would get stickers and little pens and stuff like that. So my dad got me into it.”

Rafael Millán & Eric Gonzalez – San Diego, California.

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Rafael Millán says he wanted to experience a Major League game outside of the United States. “You know, I wanted to be out with my fellow Mexicans and just enjoy a good baseball series.”

He says the vibe has been positive: “We flew in yesterday, and people have been great — open arms, very warm.”

Eric Gonzalez, who used to visit Monterrey frequently as a child, says his roots drew him to the series. “My dad is from Monterrey so I definitely wanted to see my home team play in my dad’s home land. So it was definitely a must for me.”

Daisy Arce and Marco Sedano – Paramount, California

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Like others who made the trip, Marco Sedano says the timing of the series was perfect. “We’re big baseball and Dodger fans — she also has family here in Monterrey — so it’s perfect for a vacation.

Daisy Arce says her family grew up on baseball. “My family members are big baseball fans. My brother has played baseball since he was little and I played softball myself, so baseball was kinda instilled in us.”

Both Sedano and Arce said the trip was just as much about family as it was about baseball. “It’s pretty big, that’s why we came with like, 12 of us all that traveled from the U.S.”

William Hernandez and Adriana Hernandez – Whittier, California.

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William Hernandez says the Mexico Series provided an opportunity to visit Mexico, something he hadn’t done in a while. “I’ve always wanted to come out here. My parents are from Mexico. I don’t really come to Mexico too much and I just wanted to come out here — I knew the environment was going to be pretty sweet so I wanted to check it out.”

“So far, the environment here is crazy, it’s nothing you see anywhere else. It’s almost like a playoff environment for just a regular series.”

Mayra Salas and friends – San Fernando Valley, California.

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Mayra Salas says family was definitely a reason to make the trip, but she also wanted to experience the baseball culture in Mexico. “Seeing everything baseball has to offer, seeing different people come together for one thing, it’s pretty awesome.”

Salas, whose family rooted for Dodgers legend Fernando Valenzuela says she comes from a baseball family. “My grandpa played, my dad played, my great grandpa played, my son plays — it’s just in our blood.”


READ: The San Diego Padres Will Battle It Out With “Los Doyers” In Mexico

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The World Is Not Ready For This Man’s Talent And Looks But Thank You Anyway

Entertainment

The World Is Not Ready For This Man’s Talent And Looks But Thank You Anyway

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It has been more than a decade since Mexican actors Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna established themselves as power players in the Hollywood game. Other Mexican actors like Kuno Becker have also broken into the United States mainstream, but they are few and far apart. The new kid on the block is actor Luis Gerardo Mendez, an actor that has done it all in a few years: he has made indie films, a highly successful Netflix show, one of the most successful Mexican movies of all time and now films with Jennifer Aniston, Adam Sandler and the new Charlie’s Angels team of kickass queens. 

He was born in the state of Aguascalientes, Mexico.

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Contrary to what some might believe, not every Mexican actor comes from the capital Mexico City! Luis Gerardo was born in the city of Aguascalientes on March 8, 1982. 

Remember how Jude Law seemed to be on every single movie released in the early 2000s? Well, that is what the very prolific Luis Gerardo is for the Mexican film industry today.

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From the beginning of his career, he has been willing to work with anyone who wants to tell a story. He has collaborated with first-time directors such as Ivan Morales, whose film Sincronia is available on YouTube (it is a delightful film about love and loss). He has taken on peculiar projects such as Camino a Marte, where he plays an alien trapped in a human body. He doesn’t shy away from challenges, ever. 

BTW, you just can’t miss his Netflix film Time Share (Tiempo compartido).

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Time Share (2018) is a dark comedy that explores the sect-like practices of the tourism industry and how it lures clients to get lifelong commitments to spend holidays in particular all-inclusive resorts. Filmed in Acapulco, it starts as a comedy of errors and soon becomes a much darker film: a true indictment of capitalism and its deathly methods for controlling people through impossible dreams and promises of achieving a higher social status.

Fame and fortune no se la ha subido a la cabeza and he remains humble and con los pies bien puestos sobre la Tierra.

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We love his Instagram account, where you can follow his daily life (how cool is this shot from a nightclub toilet in grungy Berlin?), from his trips to life behind the sets of his movies and TV shows. 

He is a true supporter of Mexican cinema.

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Luis Gerardo had one of the leading roles in the super successful film Nosotros los Nobles (The Noble Family), which tells the story of an upper-class family that suddenly sees its fortune evaporate. Luis Gerardo often collaborates with new and emerging directors and often takes an active role in the production. He believes in and loves the industry which saw him become one of the most recognizable of Latino filmmaking. 

We will always remember his character in Club de Cuervos, Salvador Iglesias Jr, Chava pa los cuates.

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Some actors are always linked to certain characters, and that is the case of Luis Gerardo, who played the extravagant and frankly kinda dumb Chava Iglesias in the Netflix show Club de Cuervos, which explored the world of Mexican professional soccer. Mendez revealed himself as a comedic genius, navigating the thin line that separates slapstick and high-quality comedy. He gave an apparently shallow character multiple layers of both dramatic and comedic depth. 

We mean, no one has worn a vest better.

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Chava Iglesias was so ridiculously full of himself that it was uncomfortably fun to watch! He left us plenty of memorable moments, such as successfully hiring the best soccer player in the world out of pure necedad!

He is an animal lover.

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The actor collaborates with PETA Latino, particularly in a campaign to treat domestic pets as they deserve: with care and respect. He particularly cares about dogs that are left alone in rooftops all day, a common practice in Mexico. 

He has his own collectible figurine!

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Once you have a Funko POP! toy made a tu imagen y semejanza you know you have made it! 

You can’t miss Bayoneta either (it’s on Netflix).

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The outstanding boxing drama Bayoneta is also available on Netflix. It tells the sad story of a has-been fighter from Tijuana that makes a living in Finland by training young boxers. He gives a deep, challenging performance that was physically tough.  

His movie Murder Mystery has been one of the most watched Netflix originals.

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Yes, of course, it is mainly because of his costars Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler, but Mendez’ film was watched by more than 30 million people in the first three days after its release. That is much more than what many theatrical releases get. Streaming services are truly revolutionizing how movies are produced, distributed and watched, and are giving actors like Mendez a platform in which they can explore different genres. Netflix is very fond of Luis Gerardo, and we are sure we will see more of him in the years to come. 

Next up, a crazy scientist in the girl-power action film Charlie’s Angels.

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He will play a minor role, but he will give comedic relief to the highly anticipated remake directed by Elizabeth Banks. We just can’t wait to see him in this! 

His next project deals with US-Mexico relationships: Half Brother sounds truly amazing.

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In an exclusive interview for Mitú, the film’s producer and writer, Eduardo Cisneros (one of the leading Latino voices in the industry), said about the actor: “When Jason Shuman and I started fleshing out this story, I immediately thought of Luis Gerardo, because there aren’t many people out there with all the qualities the role required. First of all, he’s a gifted actor, capable of giving a layered dramatic performance, but at the same time, he’s immensely adroit at comedy. We needed a redoubtable leading performer, the kind people come to expect from a Focus movie, but also someone who had a great appeal within the Mexican and Latinx moviegoers. We approached him at the early stages of the project, and little did we know he had a personal, almost autobiographical, connection to the story. So it was almost kismet. He came on board not only as a star but as an executive producer, so we are lucky to have his input and artistry in this movie”. 

Cisneros explains what this movie is all about: “Luis Gerardo Méndez stars as Renato, a successful Mexican private aviation entrepreneur based in San Miguel De Allende, who is shocked to discover he has an American half-brother he never knew about, the free-spirited Asher, played by Connor Del Rio. The two very different half-brothers are forced on a road journey together masterminded by their ailing father, tracing the path their father took as an undocumented immigrant from Mexico to the US.  The central idea of the movie is the need for learning how to see things from your neighbor’s perspective, which is kind of an allegory for what we’re going today in our global society.”

READ: 8 Times Netflix’s ‘Club De Cuervos’ Reminded Us How Intense Sibling Rivalry Is

Mexican President Lopez Obrador Is Bringing Sweeping Budget Cuts Causing Some Concerns

Entertainment

Mexican President Lopez Obrador Is Bringing Sweeping Budget Cuts Causing Some Concerns

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Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) has brought sweeping changes to the country since he took office last year. Whether it’s crime reform, government overhaul or even cutting his own salary. But according to the Washington Post, Lopez Obrador has also slashed the budget of the Mexican Olympic Committee. The cuts are a huge blow to the day-to-day operations of the sports organization which will now no longer be able to offer food, lodging, and medical services at its central sports training complex.

The budget cut is just the latest to come from Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador administration which has already cut back on other services such as government jobs, researchers and archaeologists.

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The call for more budget cuts comes as a surprise to some as Lopez-Obrador, a self-described leftist, has consciously spent less on government-funded efforts. In just the first seven months on the job, the administration has pushed efforts to reduce spending, which even includes Lopez-Obrador’s own salary and plans to sell off the presidential plane.

The Mexican Olympic Committee says it doesn’t have the .7 million needed to operate the Olympic sports center in Mexico City with full resources due to these cuts. The sports complex has various track and pool facilities that include a gymnasium and velodrome. Just this year alone, government funding for sports is about 25 percent below last year’s spending.  

Critics of these budget cuts say the government is spending the same amount of money but instead reallocating it to different areas and needs. This has resulted in fears that the cuts will result in not having enough money to perform and essential tasks and duties. 

President Lopez Obrador has described his new financial plan as “republican austerity.” This is causing some concerns in Mexico. 

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Besides just athletics, there is increasing stress for other civic services. Researchers and archaeologists at the National Institute of Anthropology and History told the Washington Post that almost 200 employees have been cut since the year began. These latest announced cuts have renewed fears of more layoffs coming in the near future. 

“We have gone from republican austerity to Franciscan poverty,” Joel Santos, head of the researchers’ union at the institute told the Washington Post. Many of these employees are scarcely paid and are on temporary contracts, which already places a big burden on their pay and livelihood. 

Throughout the government spectrum, there has been visible cuts and elimination of positions like consultancy and management positions. All while thousands of more public servants have resigned or quit altogether. 

Some of these funds being cut are essential to certain projects being worked on throughout Mexico. 

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While Mexico’s budget, .8 trillion pesos (4 billion), may look similar to last year, it just means that Lopez Obrador is putting it to use in different areas. These decisions are well in his power and are following his budget plan that he crafted back in December. 

“There is money,” Valerie Moy, an economist told the Washington Post. “It’s just being redirected to the president’s social and infrastructure projects, some of which appear to be almost whims that lack sound research to determine their viability or potential negative impacts.”

There are some concerns that these cuts are being made without proper consideration. Finance Minister Carlos Urzua left his position just last week due to what he says is the public policy decisions the administration is doing “without sufficient sustenance.”

“It’s what the president decides, what the president wants — and that’s what’s done,” Moy said.

There is no say when or what will be cut next but it may have a huge effect on things bigger than sports. 

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Back in May, Mexico City was hit with severe smog that was caused by nearby wildfires. Experts say that the looming air pollution could have been prevented if it wasn’t for the budget cuts to environmental services that deal with this type of detection.

“All of these activities could be seriously compromised if the austerity measures are applied indiscriminately,” Mexico’s Science and Technology Consultative Forum said in a statement this year. “If that happens, it would be an irredeemable setback in Mexico’s effort to achieve robust national development, and would make us even more dependent on what occurs beyond our borders.”

READ: The Peso Plummets After Mexico’s Finance Minister Quits And Calls Out Corruption In AMLO’s Government

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