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02/26/2006 Archived Entry: "VIVA BEISBOL (Mexican Pro Baseball News)"

VB Subscriber Submits "Top 10 Google Translations"

With this break in schedules between the Caribbean Series and the World Baseball Classic, it seems like a great time to announce our 2005-06 Winter Viva Awards for the recently-concluded Mexican Pacific League season. As with our 2005 Summer awards, we are giving Vivas in six different categories. Some picks were easier than others, but coming off such a competitive season, there are difficult choices to make in some other cases. With that in mind, here we go…

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Spike Lundberg, Guasave Algodoneros
MVP awards don’t often go to pitchers, but it’s hard to think of anyone who meant more to his team this winter than Lundberg. In the regular season, he led the MexPac in victories (9) and earned-run average (2.23), and then went on to win four more in the playoffs in propelling Guasave to the LMP Finals against Mazatlan. His return to the team in the semifinals after signing with the Dodgers and leaving for Los Angeles was one of the most inspirational stories of a season full of them for Lundberg, who came to Mexico as a minor league free agent seeking a contract.

PLAYOFF MVP: Edgar Gonzalez, Mazatlan Venados
After a mediocre performance in the Finals against Guasave, there was concern when Gonzalez was shifted from third to second base for the Caribbean Series. While Edgar did not have a bad final series (batting .263), he was replacing regular second sacker Miguel Flores, who destroyed Cottoneer pitching. The worries were meaningless, as Gonzalez crushed CS pitchers for a .524 average and three homers en route to being Mexico’s only pick for the post-Series “Dream Team.” He was the one bright consistent bright spot in Venezuela.

BATTER OF THE YEAR: Luis Alfonso Garcia, Hermosillo Naranjeros
This may have been the toughest choice for a Winter Viva. While there were a number of worthy candidates, including Guasave’s Mario Valenzuela, Cualiacan’s Ruben Rivera, Los Mochis’ record-setting Christian Quintero and Hermosillo’s bat champ Juan Carlos Canizalez, we settled on Canizalez’ teammate, Garcia. It’s hard to argue with the numbers: LMP bests in homers (18), RBI’s (57), runs scored (49) and slugging percentage (.607) with a fourth-place finish in batting (.320). A hard choice, yes, but an easy one to live with.

PITCHER OF THE YEAR: Walter Silva, Mazatlan Venados
Although Lundberg could’ve must as easily won this Viva, too, we wanted to recognize the job the steady Silva did for Mazatlan. The unheralded Silva began the winter as the Venados’ number four starter but evolved into a stopper, going 7-3 and finishing second in the MexPac in wins (7) and strikeouts (61) while finishing sixth in the ERA derby at 3.33. He also did well in the postseason, and a lot of big league organizations have noticed. Honorable Mention: Navojoa closer Scott Chiasson (18 saves, 2.12 ERA with 42 K’s in 34 IP).

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Francisco Rodriguez, Los Mochis Caneros
First-year pitchers are rarely the ace of a staff at this level, but that’s exactly what Rodriguez was for Los Mochis. Although he cooled down after a torrid start, the young righty led Caneros pitchers in wins (7) and starts (13) as the only constant in a revolving door rotation that saw 10 different hurlers open a game on the mound for Los Mochis. Although he is not blessed with the overpowering 100 mph fastball his namesake with the Angels possesses, Rodriguez did well with a mediocre team.

MANAGER OF THE YEAR: Mario Mendoza, Navojoa Mayos
Although his team stumbled in the playoffs and was eliminated in the second round, Mendoza did a good job in leading the Mayos to the best record in the MexPac for both halves in what were extremely competitive races. While he is better-known north of the border as a light-hitting shortstop during his playing days, manager Mendoza cobbled together a strong lineup featuring shortstop Luis Alfonso Cruz and outfielders Doug Clark and Norris Hopper, and successfully converted son Mario Junior into a fine starter (a 7-3 record in 14 starts).

And as a final salute to the conclusion of winter baseball in Mexico, we present a list of Top Ten GOOGLE Translations from Spanish to English of stories taken from Mexican baseball websites compiled by Tanya Sullivan. A Mexicali fan, Tanya is a Viva Beisbol subscriber in Petaluma, California, where she recently organized and staged a very successful “Jonny Gomes Day” celebration featuring the Tampa Bay and Aguilas outfielder and his brother Joey (Jonny’s Mexicali teammate and a San Diego farmhand). As you read these, bear in mind they are translations by a machine that has no idea what’s really going on, but is literally translating word by word…kind of like reading those instructions for assembling a swingset from China:

#10: “With big drums and subjects of gossip the director announced that Jonny Gomes would arrive the 8 from November and nothing, soon put of date the 22 of November and everything followed equal, with total hermetism in the offices of the Club...

#9: “But still it lacked more before the disastrous relief that threw to lose duelazo of pitcheo of the openers, being simple of Ramon Orantes the one that commanded to promised earth to Cristian Quintero and to Juan Gabriel I castrate.

#8: “Mays stamped again in the fifth episode, Aaron Holbert gave simple the power station and the second long cushion was swindled to write down with hit to the power station of Luis Alfonso.

#7: “After which Cristian Presichi cooled in the recorder to Manuel Vélez to complete one double slaughter in the villa, Mexicali equaled cardboards in the low part when Jonny Gomes, anchored with his third simple one, was offed-hook to the recorder from second with unstoppable of Derrick White, that in seventh defined the party with a doublet.

#6: “The Naranjeros wrote history in that fifth entrance, where after two outs Jorge Luis Valle and Stolen Héctor bound doublets to move the slate and that in the end was a quite heavy stoneware for the dreary equipment.

#5: “Perhaps history would have been different if cachanillas had taken advantage of a tempranera opportunity at the first episode where Christian Presichi opened with simple, were swindled the intermediate one and it parked badly in the waiting room in shot of catcher; nevertheless I remain sighing by hit towing then Alvarez was applied in serious thundering against to Javier Aryan Robles and George by the route of ponche before granting passport to Derrick White and dominating with rola to third a Joel Gomes to end any aspiration of the Eagles.

#4: “Albino Contreras (BD) is first out in bad touch that blower pipe the thrower.

#3: “The foreigners are the peloteros that must inject vitamin to the equipment.

#2: “Derrick and George are great friends. They always are in contact with the enemy.

#1: “When opening turn, Jonny Gomes shot a quadrangular one that exceeded all the horse armor of
the left garden and thus to score its first tablazo of four corners in the season.

Best Drama: After the seven defeats in row, the Eagles will look for to avoid another desplumadero...In one of their worse losing gusts of wind in all their history, with seven, the Eagles have remained single in the cellar when falling per 10-2 before the Cañeros of the Mochis, last night in desolate a Stage of the Sport City.

Longest Collection of Run-On Sentences: The arrival of Javier Oaks does not obey more to another thing than to "kicks of drowned", the ticket to the postemporada one has been put in Chinese thanks to the complicity of the director to cling to Tim Johnson, manager with all the trajectory of the world in the diamonds but that beisbol does not play and that is its main sin, in addition, apapachó to its people, to its countrymen, and that finished dividing to the group: Mexican versus Foreign, who have been a true failure, when they are those that must come to prop up to the equipment... It was needed to have a foot outside the celebration of playoffs to try to save the "boat" and is that today the Eagles could release to manager in the person of Alfonso "Houston" Jiménez, one of the players allowed then wonderful, in whom two championships and one Series of the Caribbean in that Eighties were obtained, by the corridors of the Nest ran like water that Tim Johnson had until the series against the Cañeros to demonstrate that it could do something by the equipment, but after swept the name of the "Houston" Jiménez it began to become familiar...

QUICKIES (too funny to overlook): Tomateros = weak sour cherries, Ben Francisco = "Horseradish Tree" Francisco, Good luck = good gust of wind, Right Fielder = Right Patrol Craft, Center Fielder = Central Gardener, Strikeouts = prescribed chocolates, Center Field = power station, Tied the game = matched cardboards, Wins = Cattles, Home run = quadrangular one.

MAESTROS of MEXICO: Francisco Barrios, pitcher (1974-81)
One of the most gifted Mexican pitchers to ever play in the majors, Francisco Barrios is also one of the most tragic. Born Francisco Javier Jimenez on June 10, 1953 in Hermosillo, Sonora, Barrios made his Mexican League debut with Jalisco in 1972, going 1-1 in eight appearances as a 19-year-old. He did much better for the Charros in 1973, posting a 10-12 record with a 2.30 ERA.
This impressed the Chicago White Sox to sign him in the offseason, and Barrios went on to pitch twice for the Chisox in 1974. Needing more seasoning, he was sent back to Jalisco for 1975, and again went 10-12 with a 2.70 ERA. Barrios returned to Chicago in 1976 and had an unimpressive 4-9 record that year, although he did combine with John “Blue Moon” Odom on a 2-1 no-hitter against Oakland on July 28.
The 5’11” 155-pound right-hander came into his own in 1977, flashing a 90-mph fastball and finishing with a 14-7 record to go with a 4.12 ERA and 119 strikeouts in 31 starts. However, he slipped to a 9-15 mark in 1978 despite lowering his ERA to 4.05, and after going 8-3 in 1979, was never an effective pitcher at the major league level again.
By this time, he was beginning to have difficulties with drugs and alcohol. The White Sox finally released Barrios (who was nicknamed “Pancho”) after a 1981 season in which he went just 1-3, was involved in a fight with teammate Steve Trout and was arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct and possession of cocaine. Barrios returned to Mexico and spent the winter of 1981-82 in the Mexican Pacific League with his hometown Hermosillo Naranjeros. He was reportedly on the verge of signing a contract with the Milwaukee Brewers after a good season with the Orange Growers when he suffered a fatal heart attack at his parents’ home on April 10, 1982, leaving behind a wife and five-year-old daughter. He was 28 years old.
At the time of his death, Barrios had a career record of 38-38 and a 4.10 ERA in 101 starts over parts of seven big league seasons. While he will always be a case of “what might have been” among fans, Francisco Barrios made his mark as a gregarious, temperamental hurler whose tremendous potential was overshadowed by the demons that haunted and eventually overcame him in both baseball and life.
NEXT MAESTRO: Fernando Valenzuela, pitcher (1979-present)

Last week’s Quiz answer: The first Mexican-born brothers to play in the major league were pitchers Vicente and Enrique Romo. Vicente broke into the majors 1968 and went on to pitch for five teams; while Enrique followed him by entering the bigs in Seattle for the 1977 season, the first of six years in MLB with the Mariners and Pirates. Both Vicente and Enrique were born in Santa Rosalia, Baja California Sur, both were relief pitchers, both were right-handed, both finished their major league careers with the same number of losses (33) and saves (52), and both were very successful pitchers in their native Mexico. Other than that, there’s not a lot in common between the two.
This issue’s Quiz: Of the original 16 major league franchises through 1960, which was the last team to have a Mexican play for them? (Question courtesy of Dana Eisenga from El Paso)

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