This story was originally published here, courtesy of the Diamond Backs and MLB.
MEXICO CITY — The Arizona Diamondbacks visited with Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador this morning as part of a promotional tour to raise awareness for the team’s upcoming games in Mexico City on April 18-19 (photo attached). A contingent of executives including President & CEO Derrick Hall, Senior Advisor Luis Gonzalez, Special Assistant on Mexico Erubiel Durazo and Spanish-language broadcaster Rodrigo Lopez spent more than an hour with López Obrador, a noted baseball fan. Tickets and travel packages are available at dbacks.com/mexicoseries
“We are proud of our growing fan base across Mexico and really enjoyed our conversation with President López Obrador, who has made the growth of our sport an important part of his administration,” said Hall, who sits on MLB’s International Committee. “We want to be known as Mexico’s team and we always raise our hands when given the opportunity to play here, whether in Hermosillo, Monterrey or now Mexico City.”
The 2020 series will mark the franchise’s 12th trip south of the border, more than any other team in Major League history. It will be the first-ever regular season games played in Mexico City and marks the second consecutive season the D-backs will play in Mexico, having participated in a two-game exhibition series in Monterrey last season following 10 exhibition games in Hermosillo from 1998-2015.
“It is important for us to spend time in Mexico and immerse ourselves in the community,” said Durazo, a member of the 2001 World Championship team who resides in Hermosillo and advises Hall and the organization in Mexico. “Whether that is at the Hermosillo half-marathon this weekend, visiting Little Leagues around Sonora or hosting clinics along the border.”
The series will mark the debut of the team’s newly designed “Los D-backs” uniforms, which will be worn during Sunday’s game against the Padres (photo attached). The team will wear its home white uniform on Saturday in the first-ever MLB game to be played in the newly built Alfredo Harp Helú Stadium, which holds a capacity crowd of 20,000.
“I have been fortunate to make dozens of trips to Mexico over the years,” said Gonzalez, who hosts an annual golf tournament in Puerto Peñasco and previously traveled to Mexico City in 2013 as part of a trade mission with then-Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, members of City Council and key business leaders. “I’ve seen first-hand how much fans love the D-backs and we can’t wait to see them come out for our games in April.”
Earlier this week, it was announced that the D-backs will host the 2021 World Baseball Classic at Chase Field for the third time (also 2006, ‘13). The Team USA vs. Team Mexico crowd of 44,256 was the highest-attended game of the entire global tournament in 2013. The franchise has hosted Mexican League teams three times, while the D-backs have faced Team Mexico during Spring Training on three occasions (2006, ’09, ‘13).
“This was a very special trip for me to be able to see the Presidential Palace up close,” said Lopez, who was born in Mexico City and played 11 seasons in the Major Leagues, including 2010 with the D-backs. “I’m very proud of the work that the D-backs do in my country and I hope that this series gives many fans a chance to see my hometown in person or learn about it by watching the game on TV or listening on radio.”
The team’s Hispanic fan base is among the largest in baseball, as the D-backs hosted their fourth annual Liga Mexicana del Pacifico (LMP) Day on Aug. 31, 2019 and the crowd of 50,180 was the largest single-game attendance in Chase Field history.
Since the organization’s inception, the D-backs have traveled regularly to Mexico. Arizona executives have made over a dozen trips in the past five years including official state visits to Hermosillo, Mexico City and Guadalajara. Members of the D-backs’ front office have been invited on several occasions to visit LMP’s offices to share best practices.
This Sunday, the D-backs will serve as the sponsor for the sixth annual half marathon in Hermosillo, marking the third time the team has participated in that event (2016, ‘19). Durazo will be joined by the team’s mascot, Baxter, at the finish line.
The team’s Spanish-language broadcast team features renowned Mexico-born play-by-play announcer Oscar Soria and López, whose 81 wins ranks seventh all-time among pitchers born in Mexico. López recently served as the Honorary President of the Premier 12 tournament in which Mexico qualified for the 2020 Olympics.