Tour de Liga Mexicana del Pacifico (Mexican Pacific Baseball League)

I love baseball.  I really, really do, despite having only come to it pretty recently.  A lot of my recent summer in the USA was spent ‘collecting’ baseball stadiums and I thoroughly enjoyed having some kind of organising principle to my time, once I decided that looking for real work was not going to happen.

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I may have collected a few pins and attached them to my Perth Heat Hat of Baseball Happiness. Just a few. I won’t bore you to death with all the photos of me pulling ridiculous faces inside the corresponding stadiums, but I promise that they exist.

I had half mentioned in passing to Liz-in-Melbourne that I might truck around one of the winter leagues after my stint learning to surf in Sayulita. Winter seasons of baseball (winter for the United States) include a bunch of South American leagues and the Australian Baseball League (yay, Australia!).  I was anticipating maybe going to the Dominican Republic or Venezuela, but there is a Mexican winter league, the nearest city is within 10 hours bus-ride or so of Sayulita, so… Mexican Pacific League (Liga Mexicana del Pacifico) is the thing for me.

Mexico’s regular season of baseball (Liga Mexicana del Beisbol) runs at the same time as the MLB season and has teams on the Eastern side of the Sierra Madres Occidentale and down the Yucatan Peninsula.  It’s classified as Triple-A level ball, despite no connection with the MLB farm system.  I can’t find a classification attached to the Mexican Pacific League, but their US imports seem to be coming from the A or AA system (she says, after briefly checking the recent playing history of the obvious imports on one team).

Plotting screen shot

Screen shot of the plotting phase – prices are in Mexican pesos, which is roughly 10:1 AUD once you take into account ATM fees, etc.

I planned, priced and paid for a US trip with 4 major league and 1 minor league ballpark in the space of 4 hours working in English.  It’s taking me much, much longer to do this with my mangled beginners Spanish (and incidentally, Aussie vowel sounds and a non-rhotic r, which means that even when I do know what I’m trying to say and have the grammar and syntax correct, my chance of being understood is still fairly low).

So this will be merely challenging, right? (Oh God why do I do this to myself? Every time?)

So this will be merely challenging, right? (Oh God why do I do this to myself? Every time?)

Simply working out where in town the stadium is, where the bus station is, where my accommodation is and how to get between all of those places on public transport can use up the entirety of the Spanish I can manage for the day before I’m even partway done. And occasionally my Spanish-for-the-day is entirely sucked dry by simple things like attempting to navigate the Tomateros website to find out ticket pricing.

I’ve very much been able to get by in Sayulita and Puerto Vallarta with no Spanish at all. Obviously I am trying to learn, because I am acutely embarrassed all the time to not be able to speak the language of the country that I’m visiting.  I’ve had 4 actual lessons and have gotten back into the habit of spending a chunk of time every day with Duo Lingo.  Plus I also play ‘the newspaper game’, which at the moment consists of ‘trying to figure out what this article is all about’ but in the future will include the ‘rewrite in the future tense as my own uncle’ activity and ‘opposites day’, which is rewriting the article to mean the opposite thing. I also used to have quite a lot of fun with ‘this actually happened to me’, but I think I knew an awful lot more French before I played those games.

I’ve also started collecting baseball words in Spanish 🙂

A list of relevant words, not in phrases, and only partially filled in.

A list of relevant words, not in phrases, and only partially filled in.

Rough field diagram, almost none of which has been filled in. Next time the Jaibos play at home, I'll be snaffling a small child with whom I can share vocab.

Rough field diagram, almost none of which has been filled in. Next time the Jaibos play at home, I’ll be snaffling a small child with whom I can ‘share’ vocab. Or you know, raid their brain. Whatever works.

My drawing of position players is largely untouched and I still have a tonne of questions.  I pity the poor person who sits next to me for my first game in Mazatlan. If they are remotely friendly I’ll be desperately shoving my stick-figure drawings into their face while asking ‘Como se dice en Espagnol?  Cual es la pelabra para…?’.

Speaking of ‘first game in Mazatlan’, my plan is currently looking like this:

  • Bus to Guadalajara – stay the night. Store a bag at the bus station.
  • Bus to Mazatlan – three days of baseball (or you know, maybe a couple of days of baseball and a day of surfing. Or some variation of same.)
  • Bus to Culiacan – two days of baseball
  • Bus to Guasave – one day of baseball
  • Bus to los Mochis
  • One day of baseball
  • Bus to Obregon
  • One day of baseball
  • Bus to Navajoa
  • One day of baseball
  • Bus to Hermosillo
  • One day of baseball
  • Fly to Guadalajara, collect bags, move in with host family
  • Start TEFL course.

Mexicali is just a little too far and quite frankly, the Australian Government’s travel advice about pretty much every place I want to go on this trip would probably give my Mum the willies – but their warnings about border towns actually give ME the willies and I’ve decided that as a solo female traveller with not-even-survival-levels of Spanish that I should give it a miss.  Perhaps next time I’m in the States I can trip down with… I don’t know… some people who make me feel safe and who speak Spanish really well.

Regardless, I’m looking forward to it and pricewise, it looks like the basics are going to cost in the order of $60/day for transport/accom/beisbol plus allow another $20 for foods and random small expenses (including more pins for my cap, which I have decided could also have all of the KBO team pins before it is actually too heavy to wear anymore). I have yet to price up the flight back to Guadalajara, but overall this is looking pretty feasible.  It would be slightly easier if I had an extra week before I had to be back in Guadalajara, but I’ll take this very happily.

I’m feeling pretty revved up about all the cool stuff I have coming up.  I’m so glad I’ve had this break in Sayulita, but I’m also really ready to be moving on and doing again.  Woot!

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