By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
The 2022 Liga Mexicana de Beisbol champion Leones de Yucatan announced their official 26-man roster for the 2023 Baseball Champions League tournament on Thursday.
The Leones are the host club team for the upcoming event, which runs from September 28 to October 1. The active roster includes players from last year’s championship team, the active roster of the 2023 Liga Mexicana de Beisbol season and reinforcements for the 2023 Baseball Champions League.
The Baseball Champions League will be played in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico, at Parque Kukulcan Alamo. The inaugural event will pit the 2022 champions of the Liga Mexicana de Beisbol, the American Association, the Serie Nacional de Cuba and the Liga Profesional de Beisbol Colombiano against each other in a round robin series, with the teams with the two best records playing a championship game on October 1.
In a historical first, the 2022 Cuban Serie Nacional champion, the Alazanes de Granma, will play the American Association’s Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks to open the Champions League at 1 p.m. CT on September 28. The game will be the first time a team from the Serie Nacional has faced a U.S.-based professional team.
Later on September 28, a 7:30 p.m. opening ceremony will precede an 8:30 p.m. matchup between the Caimanes de Barranquilla from Colombia against the Leones de Yucatan.
On September 29, Granma will face Barranquilla at 1 p.m. CT and Yucatan will face Fargo-Moorhead at 8 p.m. CT. The next day, Barranquilla will face Fargo-Moorhead at 1 p.m. CT and Granma will play Yucatan in the nightcap at 8 p.m. CT.
The Championship Game will be at 6 p.m. CT on October 1, with a closing ceremony to follow.
Last year, the Zona Sur winner Leones de Yucatan won the 2022 Serie del Rey, beating the Zona Norte winner, the Sultanes de Monterrey, in seven games for their fifth LMB championship.
The Government of the State of Yucatan will also help with organizing the event from Liga Mexicana de Beisbol’s Leones de Yucatán franchise, who play at Parque Kukulcan Alamo.
The World Baseball Softball Confederation Americas website stated on August 22, “Starting the 2024 season, the plan is to add regional events in the other continents, with the winners advancing to a Final Four.”
The Baseball Champions League’s goal is to expand to include 140 leagues worldwide in the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, and Asia to build more international club competition events, which could lead to possibly having national teams compete against club teams as well.
The other international events where club teams and national teams are still competing against each other are the World Port Tournament and Honkbal Haarlem Week Tournament, which are both held in the Netherlands during alternating years.
The WBSC Europe sector has several similar events, including the European Champions Cup, European Confederation Cup, the pool rounds of the Baseball Federation Cup Qualifier and Baseball Federation Cup for European club teams.
The WBSC Asia sector held the Asia Series, featuring top club teams, from 2005-08 and 2011-13 with the champions from Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan, the Korea Baseball Organization, the Chinese Professional Baseball League in Taiwan, the Australian Baseball League, the winner of the European Champions Cup, and an All-Star team from the China Baseball League before the event was discontinued after the 2013 tournament.
The Baseball Champions League event will provide a lot of scouting opportunities for winter league teams in both Australia and the Caribbean, as well as for the Pan-American Games in October and the Baseball United Showcase league that will play in Dubai from November 9-12.
The Baseball Champions League is part of the World Baseball Softball Confederation event portfolio which includes the Premier 12, World Baseball Classic, and age-group World Cup events.
The Liga Mexicana de Beisbol social media pages on Facebook, Twitch and YouTube will stream all live games for the 2023 Baseball Champions League until the final out of the championship game on October 1.
Next year’s Baseball Champions League will implement the winner of the 2023 Liga Mexicana de Beisbol season with Pericos de Puebla.
The coaching staff for Leones de Yucatan will be the same from the 2023 Liga Mexicana de Beisbol season.
2023 Baseball Champions League Schedule
Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023
2 p.m. EDT – Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks vs Alazanes de Granma
9:30 p.m. EDT – Caimanes de Barranquilla vs. Leones de Yucatan
Friday, Sept. 29, 2023
2 p.m. EDT – Alazanes de Granma vs. Caimanes de Barranquilla
9:30 p.m. EDT – Leones de Yucatan vs. Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks
Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023
2 p.m. EDT – Caimanes de Barranquilla vs. Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks
9:30 p.m. EDT – Alazanes de Granma vs. Leones de Yucatan
Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023
7 p.m. EDT – Championship Game: 2nd Place vs. 1st place
2023 Baseball Champions League Leones de Yucatan Active Roster
2023 Baseball Champions League-Leones de Yucatan Coaching Staff
Roberto Vizcarra – Manager
Juan Francisco Rodríguez – Bench Coach
Octavio Álvarez – Pitching Coach
Salvador Garibay – Bullpen Coach
Sergio Contreras – Hitting Coach
Gerardo Sánchez – First Base Coach
José Ángel Chávez – Third Base Coach