In early 2012, Arden Zwelling traveled to Mexico to report on its Pacific League in Sinaloa — the home state of current Toronto Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna. And while the characters have since changed, the song remains the same for veterans trying to earn a salary off their arms and bats, and the prospects who ply their trade there with the hope that, one day, they’ll get their shot at The Show.
If not for the crime and atrocity, Mazatlán would be just wonderful. It sits on the west coast of Mexico’s Sinaloa state, surrounded by vast empty terrain lined with tremendous, rolling mountains that look like waves frozen in time. The canyons give way to an extensive, mostly low-class city dotted with convenience stores and humble street vendors selling food and bracelets and drugs. A beachfront strip of hotels and restaurants curves inward at the water as if the ocean was pregnant, wave after wave of warm tide crashing into the sandy wall of its belly. It’s December, which means today is blindingly sunny and a dry 30 degrees; the same as yesterday and the same as tomorrow. Whatever paradise looks like, this must be close.