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Diamondbacks to play Padres in regular-season game in Mexico City

These will be the first MLB games that count to be played in Mexico’s capital.

Diablos Rojos v Tigres de Quintana Roo - Liga Mexicana de Beisbol 2019 Photo by Jaime Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images

The Arizona Diamondbacks will host the San Diego Padres in the first-ever regular season games in Mexico City on April 18-19, as was announced today by MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association. The 2020 series will be the first MLB games to be played in the newly built Alfredo Harp Helú Stadium, which holds a capacity crowd of 20,000. “The D-backs are committed to spreading our game internationally and specifically throughout Mexico, where we have thousands of loyal fans across the country,” said D-backs President & CEO Derrick Hall. “As a member of MLB’s International Committee, I’ve seen first-hand the incredible efforts made on a league-wide level to help grow the sport of baseball across the globe and we are honored to be selected to play in Mexico City.”

There have been previous games in Mexico. The Diamondbacks have frequently traveled to Hermosillo during spring training, and last year, they played two games in Monterey. That was part of MLB’s 2019 Mexico series, which also included regular season games in April, between the Cardinals and Reds, and May, where the Astros and Angels faced off. Of course, it won’t be Arizona’s first foray outside of the US for this purpose. In 2014, they opened the regular season down under, playing against the Dodgers in Sydney, Australia. This is rather less of a trip, and in terms of scheduling, the Diamondbacks have just one day off before and after these games, to get from Phoenix and to Atlanta respectively.

Environmental Contingency In Mexico Photo by Carlos Ogaz/NurPhoto via Getty Images

It is going to be VERY interesting to see how these games play. Because, if you thought Coors Field had an issue with altitude... Mexico City sits at about 7,350 feet above see level, more than two thousand feet higher than Denver. This means oxygen levels are 25% lower than normal. There have been issues with athletic events held there in the past, most famously the 1968 Olympic Games, which saw some participants collapse and needing to be given oxygen. Not helping matters there now, is that the air quality is among the worst in the world, as the image above indicates. At least we won’t have to worry about Alex Avila trying to score from first on a double, and spontaneously combusting as he rounds third...