Baseball in Cancún

The strongest appeal to most that vacation in Cancún is usually the desire to spend a week relaxing on white sand beaches during the day and partying late into the night. Some might also plan for a visit to one of the nearby nature parks like Xel-Ha or perhaps a tour to the Mayan ruins in Tulum or Chichen Itza.

When created in 1970 as a destination for tourists, the community that has become Cancún was little more than a fishing village.  Today that village has grown to a city with luxury resorts, casinos and modern shopping centers and a population of approximately 600,000, making it by far the largest city in the state of Quintana Roo. And while many of those 600,000 are employed in the tourist trade; when they aren’t at work, they’re like people everywhere just looking for something fun to do. 

  1. Beto Avila wide angle photo by Benjamin Thigpen
  2. tigres logo
  3. rhp pitcher on toe by Benjamin Thigpen

And there is also baseball. The (local team) Los Tigres de Quintana Roo plays in the Southern Division of Liga Mexicana de Beisbol, one of three AAA level leagues in Mexico. Most seasons, Los Tigres are near the top of the league and last won the championship in 2011. In the league finals, they frequently meet Los Diablos Rojos del Mexico, their long time rivals from Mexico City. We were fortunate to be in attendance at Estadio Beto Ávila for the opening game of the 2013 season when Los Tigres were playing Los Diablos.

As a frequent visitor to both top level Division One college baseball and AAA minor league games in the U.S. I was impressed at the beautiful condition of the playing surface and a bit surprised at the audacity of the (home team) Los Tigrès mascot. On the night we were there, the Tigrè mocked the umpires (and the p.a. announcer) and often times took up station right along the sideline even when play was in action.

Compared to games we go to here in the States, I would say there was more of a focus on eating and drinking than we’re used to. And of course, you gotta love those beer girls.

There are food & drink concessions in a ring around the stadium before entering the seating area and the typical vendors walking through the ball park hawking beer, souviners and snacks. In addition there are waiters (and waitresses) roaming the stands taking orders for any of the vendors who will pick up items from several vendors and then deliver them all to your seat.

In addition to tacos, grilled sausages, empanadas, peanuts, chips and fries we were a bit surprised to find that one of the most popular food items was fried (meat or cheese) kibbe; a contribution to the local food scene added by Lebanese immigrants in the 19th and 20th century.

Beto Avila Stadium is located on Av. Mayapan in downtown Cancún and was expanded to a capacity of 9,500 during renovations in 2007.   On occasion, live music and other events are also held at Beto Avila.