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The decline of the Mexican League

Baseball in Mexico is in horrible shape, according to this story in the Arizona Republic. "In Mexico City, population 20 million, about 800 spectators took in the two-time defending champion Red Devils game against the Yucatan Lions on a recent Friday night. There were so few people in 25,000-seat Foro Sol Park that vendors waited individually on fans and Yucatan players cringed at unobstructed insults about their mothers."

Baseball was once the dominant sport in Mexico, significant enough that Americans would cross over the border to play on a Mexican League team. Salaries of foreign players are now capped at $10,000 per season, and the best Mexican players "seldom make more than $20,000." Why the decline? The story mentions several factors. The main culprits appear to be limited discretionary income, and an increase in the popularity of soccer.

Manuel Martinez , a publicist for the Tigers, said professional baseball faces a stark reality.

"The average Mexican makes 70 pesos ($6.25) a day, and we have 54 home games a year," Martinez said. "There will be a home soccer game once every two weeks. They will save for the 60 pesos to go to the one soccer game, but there's not enough money to go around for so many baseball games. We've tried everything we can think of, like nights when women get in free, 20-peso ticket nights and many other promotions, but we're running up against the economic realities here."