Mexican Pacific League To Play Arizona Fall League Games In 2019

Image credit: Dalton Varsho of the Salt River Rafters scores the second run of the game in the 2018 Arizona Fall League championship game. (Photo by Bill Mitchell)

The Arizona Fall League’s usual six teams will have a little bit of company this year, with a handful of games involving teams from the Mexican Pacific League and crossover with the Mexican Baseball Fiesta.

Overall, MPL teams will play 10 games in the AFL. The Mesa Solar Sox will play two games in the Mexican Baseball Fiesta, which is an annual event held in Tucson that features Mexican teams playing against a variety of competition. Last year’s version involved four MPL teams as well as Reds minor leaguers.

The new wrinkle was thought up by AFL director Bill Bavasi and MBF founder Francisco Gamez.

“Given our demographics here in Arizona, I called (Gamez) and I met with him, and said, ‘You know, I don’t know how to do this, but I’d love to have our guys playing your guys once in a while, and I really don’t know how to do it.’ “ Bavasi said. “ ‘I don’t want to enter the Mexican Baseball Fiesta, but I’d like to figure out a way to do this.’ ”

This year, the Mesa Solar Sox are getting in on the fun. The Solar Sox—which will house prospects from the Tigers, Indians, Angels, Cubs and Athletics systems—will play two games in the Mexican Baseball Fiesta.

Here’s the interesting part: All stats for those games, including wins and losses, will count. That means the AFL pennant race could be decided by games against non-AFL clubs.

Because MPL teams usually feature a variety of players of varying backgrounds, some with extensive big league experience, AFL players will face a different kind of test.

It’s another intriguing change in the new-look AFL

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