World Classic: Behind the historic Mexican ninth that triumphed without a budget

He historic third place in Mexico in the past World Baseball Classic was forged with a preparation of six months in which there was no moneybut a work team that managed to take the selection to the semifinals.

rodrigo lopezthe main planning strategist, took over as manager in September 2022 with the challenge of designing a competitive group in half a year, despite not having the resources because the Mexican Baseball Federation it does not generate them.

The job of the exlauncher of the arizona diamondbacks consisted of looking for the best players, including those with dual nationality, who represented the country, obtaining the documents that accredit their Mexican roots and managing the permits with the teams of the Big leagues.

“There were players who spoke to me and others with whom I contacted”, explained to EFEthe retired pitcher who spent 11 seasons in the Major Leagues.

Most of the meetings were by phone calls or video calls over the internet, which Lopez made from Arizona, home of Mexico in the group stagewhere the former player works as a radio analyst for the Diamondbacks.

The list of candidates reached the 60 nameswhich was reduced by 30 who made up the first Mexican baseball team qualified to the semifinals in a World Classic.

Lopez received criticism for naming as manager Benjamin Gilwinner of four titles as a mentor in the Mexican Pacific Leaguebut who debuted as a national team strategist with three losses at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

We needed a person who would communicate with Major League Baseball players, who would have a presence with them, fluent in Spanish and English. I liked his energy, his way of seeing the game and how he treats players in difficult moments.

The bet came out for López. in so only two preparation setsGil managed to get the team, with several stars, to work for the same goal.

On the field, the Mexicans defeated the powerful team of USA for lead your group and in quarterfinals they eliminated the favorite Puerto Ricowhich came from leaving out of the eight best the powerful Dominican Republic.

Although the Mexican Federation still has not confirmed Gil and López as the heads for the 2026 World Classicthe future looks positive for Mexico, with a base of dual nationality players headed by the outfielder of Cuban origin Randy Arozarena.

(With information from EFE)