Major League Baseball Will Return To Puerto Rico in 2016 As A Tribute To Roberto Clemente
Roberto Clemente of Puerto Rico
SAN JUAN – For the first time since 2010, it appears regular-season baseball will return to Puerto Rico in 2016.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Pittsburgh Pirates and Miami Marlins will play all or part of a four-game series in Puerto Rico, presumably at Hiram Bithorn Stadium. The two teams are scheduled to meet in Miami from May 30-June 2.
Pittsburgh’s presence is significant. According to Shaikin, the games will be a celebration of Pirates great and proud Puerto Rican Roberto Clemente and add to MLB’s efforts to grow the game in Clemente’s country.
The Toronto Blue Jays and their star Puerto Rican slugger, Carlos Delgado, faced off against fellow Puerto Rican star Ivan Rodriguez and the Texas Rangers in an opening day matchup in 2001 in San Juan. Hiram Bithorn Stadium was also famously the home away from home for the Montreal Expos in 2003 and 2004, with the Expos playing 22 “home” games in each of those seasons.
The World Baseball Classic had games there in 2006 and 2009, and most recently, the Marlins and New York Mets played a three-game regular season series in 2010.
It’s been talked about before that baseball has been fading in popularity in Puerto Rico, but with young Puerto Rican players like Astros shortstop Carlos Correa and Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor making their way to the big leagues, there’s hope for a revival. Baseball will forever be a big sport in many countries, betting on the MLB has no signs of slowing down with many online sites allowing you to bet on your favorite sports team like Betting.com.
After all, this is the country that produced Clemente, Roberto Alomar, Edgar Martinez and the Molina brothers. Baseball is in its blood.
Bringing games back to San Juan is another step in that revitalization process.