Guasave Algondoneros at Estadio Francisco Carrera Limon

I arrived in Guasave in the early afternoon on a Sunday. Outside of the touristy areas in Sinaloa and Sonora, Sunday morning is really very quiet, with nearly everything closed.  Guasave was shut up tighter than a drum.

If you’d seen my itinerary for Guasave it was a bit light on detail.  Because I don’t speak enough Spanish to know if the answering machine on the hotel I had selected was saying they’d call me back, or whether they were advising that the hotel had closed. What I did know is that there were plenty of hotels around in Guasave, so I was pretty comfy about arriving without confirmed accommodation.  Especially as my experience has been that I have little hotels and motels almost entirely to myself. There’s not too many people travelling around at the moment.

This feat of planning led to was me wandering around the address listed on their website  for one lap, before being freaked out by the empty streets and locked gates and settling for the posadas closest to the bus station, which was about 800m from the stadium.  Good choice me for doing this in the day and not trying to wander around Guasave at night.

I happily walked up to the stadium for the 3pm start, but Guasave had already made it quite clear to me that it didn’t want me walking around at night. The fences are higher in Guasave.  All of the business doors are locked – even during the day in the middle of the week while the businesses are open. The overall impression is that everything happens behind bars.

Anyway, Estadio Francisco Carranza Limon is around 40 years old and its interface with the outside world feels like it.  The outside is pretty unwelcoming and the entrances are narrow and you kind of have to push through vendors of various kinds to get into the stadium.  Once inside, trying to find the team store is a bit tough, but that’s mostly because I was expecting something quite different. The store runs along a wall, behind a shoulder high wall and then thick panes of glass to the ceiling. You deal with the cashier though a tiny chink in one of the windows. Just more of Guasave feeling like it’s getting ready for some kind of riot.

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Neither a prison, nor a Tecate brewery – this is Estadio Francisco Limon.

However, the seating is just fine and the Sunday afternoon crowd were seriously fantastic.  There were over 6000 in a stadium that holds 8000, so it actually felt pretty full.  The game did not start out well for the Algodoneros, who were down 12-1 to the Los Mochis Caneros after 5 innings.

This did not matter to the crowd whatsoever, who continued to be pretty rowdy.  Of course when the Algodoneros eventually did fire up for ten runs through the 6th and 7th, the crowd went absolutely nuts.  But everyone had pretty much run out of energy by the time the bottom of the 9th came around and the whole game ended with something of a whimper.

This video, however, is what the crowd in Guasave sounds like when the team is 12-1 down.

Fun and surprising things that happened –

  1. There is a song, that all of the fans know and sing, and along with it there is either mimicking two-hands-on-the-steering wheel while weaving though cones, or chopping stuff up with two big knives alternatively.  This only happened in Guasave and I have no idea what it’s about.  So fun to have something so completely unexpected, yet so unifying happen.
  2. The tomahawk chop is not even remotely dead and not even remotely confined to the USA.
  3. It is not only acceptable, it is encouraged by the PA guy and the screen to chant for the opposing team to throw a ball instead of a strike “Bola! Bola! Bola!”

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Both teams were heading out after this final game of the series, -Caneros to Los Mochis and the Algodoneros to Mazatlan, so both team buses were in the carpark. Gotta say that the Caneros bus is significantly sexier, but just about everything the Caneros do is sexier. Their promotional team is pretty slick.

Ballpark food – took it very easy, just salchicha and huichol sauce again. It’s my ‘old reliable’ of the LMP.

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Oh salchicha. You never let me down or betray me. You remain your own bland, strangely textured, meat producty self.

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Kids hunting for autographs.

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My fear of foul balls was not sufficiently allayed by the space left for the camera. One could have gotten through!

I had the worst brain-twitch the whole time I was watching the game, being completely convinced that I had seen one of the players play before. And I was right!  Good work hindbrain, that apparently stores seriously important information regarding people’s gait, posture, stance and swing.*

Guasave was the site of my absolutely dreadful attempt at Round 3 for the Australian Baseball League Fantasy competition.  This week was the first time I’d taken it vaguely seriously, so of course most of the players I ended up picking had horrible games.  The hotel staff were lovely about feeding me more coffee and biscuits while I doodled on baseball raffle ticket scraps. This was also the first hotel where staff were keenly interested in what I was doing and wanted to make sure that I was safe along the way.  Lovely, lovely peeps.

ABL fantasy league is serious business.  Have once again learned my lesson about srs bsns.

ABL fantasy league is serious business. Have once again learned my lesson about srs bsns. Also, I never won the bloody raffle at any of the ballparks. Dammit!

I also took the opportunity while in Guasave on Monday morning to do a bit of maintenance.  By this point in the trip, I’d been wearing shoes again for a whole week, after a month of being 100% barefoot in Sayulita.  Just because I can and I did, this is what my feet looked like before and after a pedicure.  And this is pretty much the closest thing to an attractive selfie I managed in Guasave, go me!

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*The player was Mark Hamilton and team was PawSox, whom I visited twice and whose social media person was kind enough to respond to my ??? and soothe my ticklish brain.   PawSox very recently put together a Mark Hamilton highlights package

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