Mexican pitcher Patrick Sandoval, in the game against Japan, in the World Baseball Classic. Wilfredo Lee (AP)
Mexico touched the feat in the maximum showcase of baseball.
The Mexican team had reached historic semifinals in the World Baseball Classic and only had to overcome Japan to face the king of the sport, the USA, in the final.
It was the dream game for the world championship.
The Japanese, however, were the favourites.
Throughout the game, which lasted more than three hours, the Mexicans were ahead on the scoreboard until the ninth inning when the Japanese gave the Mexicans a hard setback (6-5).
The ninth Mexican gave a solid game.
The pitcher who was in unstoppable mode was Patrick Sandoval.
The baseball Tri's ability to defend against the Japanese was key to keeping the score clean.
Luis Urías hit a massive
to put Mexico up 3-0.
Randy Arozarena, a Cuban who decided to represent Mexico, took the night by catching the ball at the ideal moment, like in the sixth inning when the Japanese had an opportunity to even the result and caught the ball before it went out of the garden .
Arozarena celebrated as if nothing had happened.
In the seventh inning, Mexican Jojo Romero couldn't avoid a drive from Shohei Ohtani.
Arozarena, in an instant reply, hit a furious whiplash that complicated the Japanese outfielders.
That triggered another Mexican run for the partial 4-3.
El Tri had the possibility of opening the distance, but they only added one more run after being struck out (5-3).
The Asians closed the gap and, in the bottom of the eighth inning, Gerardo Reyes made the night bitter for Kensuke Kondoh.
It was all in the ninth inning.
There the Mexicans failed to increase the advantage.
Serious mistake to leave some Japanese who have built their sporting success on bats badly injured.
The Japanese, in the ninth inning, took the deck and rallied the game.
Hard dart for the Mexicans who could no longer do anything (6-5).
The Mexican fans that packed the LoanDepot Park,
The Mexican team dealt a great blow to the world of baseball when it came back from a game that seemed lost against Puerto Rico, one of the powers, in the semifinals (5-4).
Before, they had already given the surprise by defeating the United States (11-5), who beat Cuba to reach the final.
The path of the Mexicans, however, had started with a setback against Colombia (5-4).
In the first round they also knocked out the United Kingdom (2-1) and Canada (10-3).
The Mexican baseball team has found great harmony among its players thanks to the fact that more than 90% belong to the Major Leagues in the US, with Julio Urías, a Dodgers player, as a great figure.
The Mexicans also saw the birth of a star.
Randy Arozarena was born in Pinar del Río, Cuba, he represented the island in lower baseball and soccer teams until he emigrated on a raft to Mexico.
He was signed to a young baseball academy in Tijuana and there he began his journey through various teams in the Mexican Pacific League.
In 2016, the Cardinals signed him to make the leap to the United States.
It took him three years to make his major league debut and, a year later, he landed with the Tampa Bay Rays.
He played in the World Series against the Dodgers, which he would lose.
Arozarena set up a transmission with his Instagram followers in 2021. There he sent an unusual message: “I am only asking a favor, my people.
Send a message to the president [Andrés Manuel López Obrador] so that he gives me nationality and does me that favor to represent Mexico in the World Cup, it's all I want."
The president assured in a conference that his case would be passed on to the immigration director.
In April 2022, the baseball player received the naturalization letter that accredited him as Mexican.
López Obrador, a self-confessed fan of bats and mitts, has made baseball his biggest sports bet.
In 2019 he created the Office of the Presidency for the Promotion and Development of Baseball in Mexico (Probeis), which received 1,054 million pesos
Mexico views baseball with nostalgia.
It is one of those sports in which it has had great legends worldwide such as Fernando Valenzuela, Adrián González or Esteban Loaiza (who served a sentence for cocaine distribution).
Baseball had its great success, with two competitive leagues with respect to Latin America and the US, but its biggest problem was with television due to the length of the games and the impossibility of there being a tie.
Mexican television stations preferred the soccer business model.
The greatest influence for Mexicans has been, above all, Major League Baseball (MLB).
The World Classic is seen as the biggest baseball tournament for countries.
It started in 2006 thanks to the impulse of the MLB, the leagues of Japan and South Korea.
Of the four editions played, Japan won those of 2006 and 2009. The Dominican Republic was crowned in 2013 and in 2017, the closest edition, the USA surpassed Puerto Rico.
The Mexicans had never reached the semifinal round until the ninth led by Benjamín Gil did so this year.
Mexico, despite losing against Japan, was excited and showed its best face in decades.
As a harvest, he is left with a splendid generation of baseball players, with Arozarena as a new Mexican idol.
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