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