Yesterday afternoon my girlfriend Suz and I went to watch the Mexican National Team play the Colorado Rockies at Hi Corbett Field in Tucson.
Mexico won 2-1. It was the second time in three days that the Rockies squared off against Mexico. Two days earlier the Rockies won 15-2. Fortunately for Mexico, today’s game was a split squad game for Colorado, so the Rox were without loyal Umpbump reader Troy Tulowitzki and a few other key regulars.
Rockies players who did play today included Matt Holliday, Willy Taveras, Brad Hawpe and Todd Helton. Jeff Francis started the game for the Rox. I didn’t recognize any of the Mexican players.
We sat right in the middle of the Mexican fans, behind Mexico’s dugout. I don’t speak Spanish so I missed the meaning behind a ton of heckling. The guys sitting right behind us were drinking Coors Lights and having a blast. Every minute or so a guy in sunglasses and a camouflage hat would shout something and the fans on our side of the stadium would snicker.
At one point, Suz turned to me and said:
“I think I’m losing the hearing in my right ear.”
“What?” I asked.”
“I think I’m losing the hearing in my right ear,” she repeated.
“I can’t hear you,” I said. “The fans behind you are too loud. What did you say?”
“I said I think I’m losing the hearing in my right ear,” she said.
“Oh,” I said. “Yeah.”
As I was leaving the game, the guy in the camouflage hat excitedly high-fived me. I asked him what he had been shouting and he explained to me that he was taunting Mexico’s third base coach, who stands about ten feet to the right of the batters circle, rather than stand in the coach’s box.
“We don’t like him,” he said. “He never stands where he’s supposed to stand. And he blocks our view.”
Other highlights from the game:
- In the fourth inning, the game stopped for a few minutes when strong winds blew dirt from the field into the stands. After the wind died down, everybody in the first ten rows behind home plate stood up and dusted themselves off. Then the game resumed.
- Former Rockies 3B and former Mexican National Team manager Vinny Castilla came out to coach third in the bottom of the ninth inning and got a big standing ovation. I’m pretty sure Vinny could get elected president in Mexico if he were to run.
- A ball hit by one of the Mexico players appeared to clear the left field fence, but was later ruled a ground rule double, much to the dismay of the fans (Note: when Mexico fans disagree with an ump’s call, they whistle. I’d like to see Philly fans give that a try.)
- Throughout the game, kids and adults tossed hats, shirts and balls over the fence to the players in the Mexico dugout. Without fail, the Mexican players signed the items and tossed them back. Very cool.
All in all, it was a great afternoon. And the lesson, as always, is that Mexican fans are the best. Well, except for maybe Japanese fans.
Oh, one last thing…
This season, MLB has decided that first and third base coaches need to wear helmets (much to Larry Bowa’s dismay). But during spring training games, coaches continue to sit in folding chairs set up adjacent to the dugout, with nothing in between them and the hitters. Is it me, or is that a little inconsistent?