Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Major Leagues Head South as Padres Invade Mexico

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Major Leagues Head South as Padres Invade Mexico

Article excerpt

Larry Lucchino touredthe ballpark and liked what he saw.

Newly painted clubhouses, new steel-gray carpet, a custom-ordered bat rack and an imposing view of the jagged Sierra Madre over the center-field bleachers.

For the president of the San Diego Padres, the conditions at Monterrey Stadium are of keen interest.

In less than a month, Lucchino's club will come to northern Mexico to play host to the first regular-season games played by major league baseball outside of the United States and Canada.

Lucchino hadn't inspected the park since announcing in February that the Padres would move their Aug. 16-18 series with the New York Mets to Monterrey because of scheduling conflicts at San Diego's Jack Murphy Stadium.

"It looks great," he said, gazing about the home field of the minor league Monterrey Sultans. "We want this series to be an artistic success as much as a commercial success. We want it to be a symbol of outreach to Mexicans and Mexican-Americans."

That was the message from a baseball delegation that is promoting what has been dubbed "La Primera Serie," or The First Series.

The games will be broadcast in the United States by regional networks and nationwide in Mexico by the privately owned Televisa.

Lucchino, Padre first baseman Wally Joyner, National League senior vice president Katy Feeney and other big league ambassadors met with Mexican baseball officials and Monterrey civic leaders to unveil the series logo - and to exhort the locals to buy tickets.

A seat in the bleachers was going for 30 pesos, or about $4, and the best box seats could be had for 130 pesos, or a bit more than $13. Tickets were on sale in Monterrey and in San Diego.

Padres pitcher Fernando Valenzuela, a national hero in his native Mexico, is sure to draw many fans if his turn in the starting rotation comes during the series.

The Padres, who are attracting a growing audience across the border in Baja California, began searching for a temporary home when the Republican Party considered using Jack Murphy Stadium for its August national convention. …

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