Padres to host Mexican League game in August
Tijuana and Mexico City to clash following San Diego's Aug. 3 matinee vs. Atlanta
The San Diego Padres announced on Thursday that Petco Park will be hosting a special international doubleheader on Aug. 3. About 30 minutes after the conclusion of a 1:10 p.m. PT game between the Padres and the Atlanta Braves, the Tijuana Toros and Mexico City Diablos Rojos will take the field to play a regular-season Mexican League game. Admittance to the latter contest will be included with a ticket to that day's Padres game.
It'll be the second Mexican League regular-season game to take place in Petco Park, and the first since 2006.
"We are proud to bring Mexican League baseball back to Petco Park for all of the passionate baseball fans in the San Diego/Baja California region," said Tom Seidler of the Padres' ownership group. "We want to make that day a celebration."
"On behalf of the Toros of Tijuana, we would like to extend a special thanks to the San Diego Padres for opening the doors of Petco Park to us all," said Blanca Uribe of the Toros' ownership group. "We hope this game is seen as a symbol of union between our communities, San Diego and Tijuana."
In 1996, the Padres became the first Major League team to play a regular-season "home game" outside the United States or Canada when they hosted the New York Mets in Monterrey, Mexico, and remain the only MLB team to play a home game in Mexico.
Seidler said the Padres could possibly revive that international game, which would require cooperation with MLB and any proposed opponent.
"It's certainly something that should happen in the near future," Seidler said. "Those games are great for baseball, great for Mexican baseball fans, great for American fans. We need to find a way to make that happen again."
But for now, Seidler says the Padres are just hoping to establish a positive relationship with the Mexican League and the communities that host their teams.
"It's a focus that's going to stay with us and our ownership group as we're here for the next 30, 40 years," Seidler said. "It's not just about the game. It's about taking the game and branching off from that to get more involved in the community and do greater things."
The Diablos Rojos are owned by partial Padres owner Alfredo Harp Helú and boast 15 Mexican Baseball League championships, the most in league history.
"All of us at the Diablos Rojos are very happy to return to play at Petco Park, now in an official game of the Mexican Baseball League," said Diablos Rojos general manager Jorge Alum. "It will be a great event for all baseball fans, especially for the Mexican fans living on both sides of the border, and we are hopeful that this will be the beginning of many games that the Diablos will play at Petco Park."
The Toros, who are in their first year of play in the Mexican major leagues, are eager to play as the home team in a marquee game on an international stage. But when they take the field, it'll be all business.
"It's a big responsibility as a player, and we just want to come and show our experience that we have in the Mexican League and give our best effort in the game," said Toros outfielder Eduardo Arredondo, who had three hits and scored three runs in Mexico's 5-2 win over the United States in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. "We'll be excited, but we're going to take it seriously to come and play."