Hector Santiago, shown here with the Seattle Mariners, had a spectacular start in the Liga Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente this week. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
By Conor Liguori
World Baseball Network
The 2023-24 Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente winter season in Puerto Rico began Tuesday, November 3. This year is the 85th anniversary of the league since its inaugural season in 1938.
This season, the six organizations playing are the Cangrejeros de Santurce, Leones de Ponce, Gigantes de Carolina, RA 12, Criollos de Caguas, and Indios de Mayaguez. Each team will play 40 games from opening day on November 3 to the final day of the regular season on December 29. The organization that wins the championship will represent Puerto Rico at the 2024 Caribbean Series in Miami, Florida, at LoanDepot Park from February 1-9.
During the regular season, games will be available to watch on WAPA Deportes and each team’s Facebook pages. According to Puertoricodaytrips.com, tickets can be purchased at PRTicket.com. Contests from Monday to Thursday will start at 6:10 p.m. ET, games on Fridays and Saturdays will start at 6:45 p.m. ET, and games on Sundays will begin at 3:10 p.m. ET, with the Gigantes de Carolina being the exception. Their contests will start at 5:10 p.m. ET on Sundays.
World Baseball Network will provide a weekly roundup for the 2023-24 Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente season. Although only a few games have taken place to begin the season, there is already plenty of news and several notable storylines across the league.
Roy Morales, 1B – Cangrejeros de Santurce – First baseman Roy Morales of the Cangrejeros de Santurce hit a walk-off single on November 5, securing a 3-2 win against the Criollos de Caguas. Morales was his team’s designated hitter in the game. In extra innings, teams are awarded a runner on first base. With a runner on first, second baseman and outfielder Shed Long Jr. was walked to lead off the inning. With runners on first and second, outfielder Albert Almora reached on an infield hit to load the bases.
Criollos de Caguas manager Yadier Molina visited the mound to discuss the game plan and even brought an outfielder to the infield to try to limit any damage. However, Morales hit a game-winning RBI single to end the game. The Cangrejeros improved to 2-0 and Caguas fell to 0-2 on the season.
Hector Santiago, P – Leones de Ponce – Former Major League Baseball pitcher Hector Santiago put together a great start in a 9-6 win against Criollos de Caguas this past Saturday, allowing just one earned run on two hits in five innings. The 35-year-old lefty struck out six in the game. Santiago has played nine previous seasons in Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente. He is seeking to duplicate his 2019-20 season with the Gigantes de Carolina when he posted a 0.73 ERA in 49 innings.
Off the Field
Opening Weekend Attendance – According to the official website of Liga de Béisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente, an estimated 26,669 people attended a game during the opening weekend. In comparison, 21,180 people attended an opening weekend game during the 2022-23 season, a twenty-six percent increase from one year to the next.
“This is the fruit of the work and team effort that the franchise owners have made, which began in March 2023 at the first team owner’s convention,” LBPRC President Juan A. Flores Galarza told Ligapr.com.
Emmanuel Rivera Receives Award for his Dedication to LBPRC – Third baseman Emmanuel Rivera of the Indios de Mayaguez and Arizona Diamondbacks is the recipient of the “Luis Rodriguez Olmo Presidential Award” for the 2023-24 LBPRC season. According to an article on the Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente website, the award is given to a player who “has demonstrated a continuous and faithful commitment to the LBPRC, being a worthy ambassador.”
“Emmanuel is the prototype of the player who gives value to the LBPRC. We all agree that he is the model for new prospects to follow. For him, there is no excuse for extreme fatigue or injuries, to be present and demonstrate his commitment to Indios de Mayaguez, to the LBPRC, and to the teams that have represented Puerto Rico in the Caribbean Series and the World Classic,” LBPRC President Juan A. Flores Galarza told Ligapr.com.
Current Standings as of November 8
1. Leones de Ponce (3-0)
2. Gigantes de Carolina (3-1)
3. Cangrejeros de Santurce (2-1)
4. RA 12 (1-2)
5. Criollos de Caguas (1-2)
6. Indios de Mayagüez (0-3)
Game Schedule for the Following Three Days
Thursday, November 9
6:10 p.m. ET – Criollos de Caguas vs. RA 12
6:10 p.m. ET – Cangrejeros de Santurce vs. Indios de Mayagüez
Friday, November 10
6:45 p.m. ET – Gigantes de Carolina vs. Criollos de Caguas
6:45 p.m. ET – RA 12 vs. Cangrejeros de Santurce
6:45 p.m. ET – Indios de Mayagüez vs. Leones de Ponce
Saturday, November 11
6:45 p.m. ET – Criollos de Caguas vs. Gigantes de Carolina
6:45 p.m. ET – Leones de Ponce vs. Indios de Mayagüez
6:45 p.m. ET – Cangrejeros de Santurce vs. RA 12