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Expos Triumph Fans Welcome Team To Home, Even If Home Is In Puerto Rico 'I'm Proud To Be Puerto Rican' 'It's Special For Puerto Rico' Permanent Move A Long Shot
Expos Triumph In Puerto Rico
But First Game In San Juan Short of Sellout: Expos 10, Mets 0
By Steve Fainaru
April 12, 2003
Fans wave a Puerto Rican flag at the start of Friday night's Expos-Mets game at the Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico. (AP)
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Cans of piña colada mix were stacked beneath the right field grandstand tonight as Major League Baseball arrived in Puerto Rico. Salsa thumped against the stadium overhang, three national anthems were sung and then the Expos took the faded AstroTurf field in their home whites -- thousands of miles from their actual home in Montreal.
And thus began baseball's latest experiment for the Expos, lost boys of their sport. Major League Baseball tried to fold the team in 2001, purchased it for $120 million last year and is now renting it out to San Juan for 22 games this season to raise money until deciding whether to move the club to Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia, or Portland, Ore.
Montreal drubbed the New York Mets, 10-0, in its home opener at Hiram Bithorn Stadium, but it didn't feel much like home. The final score glowed beneath the words Municipio de San Juan. The Expos won't actually play in Montreal until April 22, and it was clear that although baseball is counting these as home games, few here were buying into it -- not the players, and not even the fans.
The crowd of 17,906 -- about 1,000 shy of sellout -- chanted "Let's Go Mets" in English, then cheered equally hard when Montreal's Brad Wilkerson crushed a grand slam off Mets starter David Cone in a seven-run third. It booed when Expos star Vladimir Guerrero, a Dominican, was called out on strikes, cheered wildly when Mets second baseman Roberto Alomar, a Puerto Rican, made a spectacular play and cheered again for Expos starter Tomo Ohka, who gave up just one hit in eight innings.
"It certainly wasn't all a home crowd of the Montreal Expos; there were a lot of New Yorkers out there," said Expos Manager Frank Robinson, who once played and managed in the Puerto Rican winter league.
In the eighth, Montreal second baseman Jose Vidro, a native of Sabana Grande, Puerto Rico, came to the plate. Vidro is a five-year veteran, an emerging star, but his mother, Daisy, had never seen him play in the major leagues.
"To tell you the truth, I was more nervous than in my first game in the big leagues," he said.
With his mother in the crowd, Vidro clubbed a two-run homer. "When I was coming around second base, I had tears in my eyes," he said. "I had thought about what it would be like, to hit a home run in front of my mother, in front of my family. For it to happen . . . it's hard to explain."
The Puerto Rican players regarded the game as a watershed. "I think this is a very important game, not just for baseball but for our island," Alomar said. But other Expos seemed to regard the series as the continuation of a 19-game road trip: "It's hard to call it a home game when you're staying in a hotel," said pitcher Tony Armas Jr. As compensation, Expos players received double meal money -- over $150 a day -- and the opportunity to bring their families, according to Steve Fehr of the Major League Baseball Players Association.
The atmosphere inside the stadium was as unique as one would expect for a game played between a Canadian team and an American team in a U.S. commonwealth situated in Latin America. For more international flavor, Montreal's starter, Ohka, was from Kyoto, Japan. The Expos were snowed out Tuesday in Chicago and played Wednesday in 32-degree weather. The temperature in the Caribbean tonight was 79; beads of moisture congealed on the air-conditioned press box. During the seventh-inning stretch, "God Bless America" was played, and then a group of dancers took the field for a "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" rumba, realized in Spanish.
The concourses were taken over by American fast-food chains: Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken. They were flanked by makeshift bars serving $3 beers, $4 Bacardi-and-Cokes and $7 margaritas. Everyone in the stadium seemed to have a badge for their specific role: Ana Sanchez (Piña Colada), Johnny Cruz (KFC), Cecilia Montesinos (merchandise).
Leslie Gatambide, a black-jack dealer at the Condado Plaza Hotel & Casino, stood in the aisle of the $35 seats -- Preferencia B -- nursing a Budweiser in a plastic cup. Gatambide wore a Roberto Clemente replica jersey and seemed as excited as his 10-year-old cousin, Manuel Ramos, who stared at the green plastic field, mesmerized.
"Major League Baseball -- I had to go for it," said Gatambide. "There's nothing like this."
Baseball already has called the series a success, if only because the games will bring in at least $6.5 million in revenue -- at least $4 million more than if the games had been played at Olympic Stadium. However, there were hundreds of empty seats tonight in the mid-level price range, raising more questions about whether baseball had priced the games out of the market.
Thousands of seats were still available for the final three games of the Mets series, including some 4,000 for Monday afternoon. The average ticket price -- $33.47 -- is more than double the major league average, even though monthly per capita income in Puerto Rico is $682.08. The highest-priced ticket is $85.
Expos pitcher Javier Vazquez, a native, said he thought the prices made it difficult for many Puerto Ricans to attend. "Even general admission is 25 bucks," he said. "For 22 games, if you really want to see baseball, that's a concern."
Baseball officials initially acknowledged that the pricing was made jointly by the league and the Puerto Rican promoter, but MLB appeared to be distancing itself tonight. "We left the pricing decisions essentially to the promoter," said John McHale, baseball's executive vice president of administration, who negotiated the Puerto Rico deal.
Baseball had hoped that a last-minute walkup would sell out tonight's game. But those hopes appeared to be dashed by rain throughout the day.
Baseball officials have indicated that the Expos might return next year if the team remains in limbo, but a failure to fill even a modest-sized stadium might bring second thoughts.
Asked how success for the series would be measured, Expos President Tony Tavares said, "Like everything, it will ultimately be attendance."
There are other measures, though. Before the game, veteran Mets reliever Mike Stanton was dressing in the renovated clubhouse. New blue carpeting covered the floor. In front of the room, two new televisions were tuned to the war and Latin music videos.
"I'll tell you what," said Stanton, when asked what he thought. "It's better than Montreal."
Fans Welcome Expos To Home, Even If Home Is In Puerto Rico
By RAFAEL HERMOSO
April 12, 2003
SAN JUAN, P.R. - It cost him more than $1,000, but no price could keep Nestor Rullan and his wife, Milagros, from seeing Major League Baseball come to Puerto Rico. So Rullan had an associate go to the box office on the first day tickets went on sale and bought seats to each of the 22 games the Montreal Expos would play here this season.
"It's worth it because we like baseball and the Mets," said Milagros, who lived with her husband in New York for five years.
They joined thousands of other Puerto Ricans tonight in welcoming big league baseball back to the island, although the game ended up short of a sellout. Seeking attendance and revenue, Major League Baseball, which owns and operates the Expos, has shifted a portion of the team's schedule from Montreal to Hiram Bithorn Stadium, named after the first Puerto Rican to play in the major leagues. This was opening night in San Juan, although it was not the first major league game played here; the Texas Rangers and the Toronto Blue Jays opened the 2001 season in this stadium.
"If I was a kid, I'd ask my dad to buy tickets to go see the big leagues," said Mets second baseman Roberto Alomar, whose family comes from Salinas on the other side of the island.
Like many, he viewed the Expos' games as a trial run for a future franchise in Puerto Rico.
"We might have only this one opportunity. This is it. It's up to Puerto Ricans to support it."
Alomar went into the game needing one run to surpass Roberto Clemente for the most runs scored by a Puerto Rican in the major leagues, and he received one of the loudest ovations before the game. In a miserable game for the Mets, in which they were pounded, 10-0, he also received huge cheers after making a diving stop on a ground ball. Others who were singled out for cheers before the game included Mets shortstop Rey Sanchez and the Expos' Javier Vazquez, Jose Vidro and Wil Cordero, who are all native Puerto Ricans. Alomar's mother, Maria Velasquez de Alomar, was at the game; her son called it a dream come true.
Answering most questions in Spanish in a news conference, Alomar was asked what cap he would like to wear when he entered the Hall of Fame. "If I could, I'd wear one of Puerto Rico because that's the one I wear in my heart," he said.
Rullan, a 71-year-old construction engineer from San Juan, paid $75 each for two box seats down the first-base line tonight - tickets ranged from $10 to $85 - and said the tickets were too expensive for most Puerto Ricans. He hoped that would not dissuade fans from selling out the stadium, which holds over 19,000, and would help Puerto Rico get their own team one day.
"I'd like to have a team here," Rullan said. "There's enough fans here and there's a lot of Puerto Rican stars playing baseball."
Hector Sanjenis, 33, brought his sons, Alejandro, 9, and Emilio, 5, and was awaiting his wife as they watched the Mets take batting practice. They paid $45 for each of their seats and hoped to watch Juan Gonzalez and the Texas Rangers in June.
Sanjenis, the vice president of a Little League in nearby Guaynabo, called the Expos' games an "incredible opportunity.''
"I've been to the U.S. to see games, but the stadiums are so big you can't see anything," said Sanjenis, a sales manager for an office supplies company. He said he once paid a scalper $200 for a seat at Yankee Stadium, and he sounded as if the ticket prices here were a bargain.
"We need to show the major leagues that Puerto Ricans love baseball," Sanjenis said. "People don't respond to the professional league here because many players from the U.S. don't play."
Mets outfielder Jeromy Burnitz gave an incredulous look when someone asked if this appeared to be a good hitter's park. "It's 313 and turf," Burnitz said, referring to the 313-foot distance down the right-field line and the artificial surface. The left-field wall is 315 feet away and the gaps are 365 feet in left and 360 in right, short of the 370-380 average for major league parks. Still, none of those friendly dimensions helped the Mets tonight as they scratched out only two hits.
The Mets played in Miami on Thursday night and did not arrive at their hotel in the San Juan neighborhood of Isla Verde until after 3:30 a.m., leaving players with little time to see the area before today's game. Reliever David Weathers noticed a difference waking up and seeing the Caribbean Sea. "I feel like I'm on vacation," Weathers said.
Al Leiter and Burnitz had played in Arecibo to the west, and Burnitz lived a block from the team's hotel. Outside of police escorts from the airport and to the ballpark, he did not see this as much different from another road trip.
One player told Kevin Hallinan, baseball's chief of security, that it was reassuring to see him at the airport this morning. Hallinan's crew is guiding an armada of security forces that include officers from the F.B.I.; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; the police from the cities of San Juan and Carolina; the state police from Puerto Rico; local fire departments; and a national guard unit. They have been stationed at the stadium around the clock since Wednesday. Sharpshooters were stationed in the bullpens.
"Players are thinking they're leaving the mainland and there is in the back of their mind, 'Has everything been done?' '' Hallinan said. "I've been selling this since spring training."
'I'm Proud To Be Puerto Rican And Play In My Country'
April 12, 2003
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - They grew up and played winter baseball here, but there's nothing quite like coming home as major-leaguers for Puerto Rico's star players.
"I'm proud to be Puerto Rican and play in my country," New York Mets second baseman Roberto Alomar said yesterday before his club opened a four-game series with the Montreal Expos at Hiram Bithhorn Stadium.
"To have my mother come here and watch me play is a dream come true. She used to watch me play in Little League. This is an opportunity for her to come and see me play for a big-league team."
The Expos will play 22 "home" games -- 10 in April, six in June and six in September -- in Puerto Rico this season in order to boost revenue as Major League Baseball tries to sell and move the team to a more lucrative market than Montreal.
The season will see the Expos play 103 games away from Montreal, which raised concerns over debilitating travel for some players, but not those born and raised on the baseball-mad Caribbean island.
"I don't think it's a concern," said Expos ace Javier Vazquez, who is scheduled to pitch the series finale Monday. "The only bad one is the trip [from Puerto Rico] to Seattle in June.
"People think it's far, but from Chicago [on Thursday] it was only four hours. It'll be four and a half hours from Montreal."
Rather than a hardship, Puerto Rican players see the games as a source of national and personal pride.
Vazquez said about 35 friends and family members would be at the 19,000-seat stadium to see him pitch, including his nearly 80-year old grandmother, who never saw him play a major-league game.
"She'll be thrilled," said Vazquez, who is from Ponce, an hour's drive across the island from San Juan.
"She follows what I'm doing every day in the newspapers and on the radio.
"I'm thrilled to play here and I hope I do good when I pitch in front of our fans."
The games in Puerto Rico are probably what kept Vazquez in an Expos uniform this year. The Expos stand to earn at least US$6-million from the 22 games, more than three times what they were likely to earn in Montreal.
That allowed the cash-strapped Expos to escape with only having to trade one star player in the off-season, pitcher Bartolo Colon. There were rumours Vazquez also was slated to move.
"I didn't want that because we were playing in Puerto Rico," he said.
Major League Baseball, which owns the Expos, first tested the Puerto Rico market in 2001, when the Toronto Blue Jays opened the season with a three-game series against the Texas Rangers.
Enthusiastic attendance at that series prompted baseball to return when it was looking for an alternate site for Expos games.
That has raised hopes that the island may one day land a team of its own full time, although there are strong doubts its fragile economy and population of just under four million could support it.
"It's to early to say," said Vazquez. "In Puerto Rico, they love baseball and especially major league baseball and they love seeing their players like Alomar, [Jose] Vidro and [Juan] Gonzalez.
"But it's tough to compete against cities in the U.S. like Washington and Portland or other cities that have been mentioned [as bidders for the Expos]. They're big cities."
Alomar is more optimistic. He hopes they sell out most of the Expos' games and that momentum builds toward getting a full-time franchise.
The San Juan Star reported this week that an Atlanta businessman of Puerto Rican descent, Charles Vaughn Velazquez, was organizing a group of investors to bid for a team.
"If Puerto Rico wants a franchise later on, it's important to sell out these games," said Alomar. "If people come out, maybe Major League Baseball will talk to them about having a big-league team.
"This could be our only opportunity and we can do something about it."
MLB's Visit: `It's Special For Puerto Rico'
Games turn into family reunions
BY KEVIN BAXTER
April 12, 2003
SAN JUAN - When someone asked José Vidro how it felt to get three hits in the first major-league game his mother, Daisy, had seen him play, he became so choked with emotion he could hardly answer.
Mets shortstop Rey Sánchez, who usually doesn't see daughter Sabrina during April, celebrated her sixth birthday Saturday with his whole family at the downtown ballpark here, where the Expos beat the Mets 5-4 before a sellout crowd of 18,264.
And Monday, when Montreal right-hander Javier Vázquez takes the mound against the Mets, his grandmother, Isabel Arroyo, will see him pitch in the majors for the first time.
For Major League Baseball, the decision to move 22 of Montreal's home games to Puerto Rico was mostly a marketing ploy, a way to boost the sport's image in the Caribbean and raise money for the cash-strapped Expos. But for the 17 Latin American players -- and especially the six Puerto Ricans -- on the Mets and Expos rosters, this weekend's four-game series in San Juan is something much bigger.
''It's like a dream come true. From the moment we got here on the plane, we've felt like we're home,'' said the Mets' Roberto Alomar, whose homecoming included scoring in the seventh inning to pass his idol, Roberto Clemente, for most runs (1,417) by a Puerto Rican in the major leagues.
``I'm not just happy to be here, I'm proud. This is special for us and it's special for Puerto Rico.''
From the high-decibel salsa that blared on the loudspeakers during batting practice to the Spanish-language public-address announcements, it was clear these games were on foreign turf. And that, some Latin players said, could help their U.S.-born teammates understand what they deal with coming to the United States.
''I don't know if people can understand what we really went through,'' Alomar says. ``Leaving the country without really knowing the language and having to leave your family and friends. It's tough.''
Mike Piazza, who played in the Dominican Republic and Mexico early in his career, said many U.S. players get a taste of that cultural isolation in the winter leagues. If they make it to the majors, however, they know their families will be there to share in their success. Piazza's father, for example, attended dozens of Dodgers games early in his son's career. But for a number of reasons, from immigration problems to family responsibilities, many Latin players don't get the same opportunity.
''I think that's great for their families to come see them play,'' Piazza said. ``I guess that's the whole idea of what this tour is about.''
''Families,'' however, should be taken in this case to include all of Puerto Rico, which has sent more than 200 players to the major leagues. But with many major-league clubs banning players from the winter leagues once they have become established, the Expos' San Juan games could be the only chance Puerto Rican fans get to see their native sons play.
That's what drew Rey Flores and his 5-year-old son, Rey Jr., to Saturday's game.
''I want my son to see Major League Baseball,'' he said. ``And Alomar is my favorite player.''
What they saw Saturday was an exciting, if not particularly well-played, 3-hour 20-minute game. It featured three incredible throws by Expos right fielder Vladimir Guerrero (none of which resulted in outs), a successful squeeze bunt by the Expos' Jamey Carroll, a hit batter who was called out on strikes and six strong innings by Montreal starter Liván Hernández (1-0).
What the Puerto Ricans hope their visitors saw was a fan base vibrant and knowledgeable enough to lure Major League Baseball back for longer stays in the future.
''[This] is a series that's very important for our island,'' Alomar said. ``Not just for baseball, but for our island. We might have only this one opportunity.''
Permanent Move For Expos A Long Shot
By Sarah Talalay
April 13, 2003
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO · It didn't take long for Les Expos to become Los Expos.
By Saturday night, a raucous sellout crowd of 18,264 had filled Hiram Bithorn Stadium for the second of 22 Montreal Expos games in this tropical island city. For the second time in two nights, they brought the spirit of a Caribbean soccer match, cheering in Spanish and English, and proving they know and love baseball.
They cheered Los Expos, their 13 Latin players and a powerful offense that defeated the New York Mets 10-0 in Friday night's opener. Los Expos followed that with another offensive contest on Saturday, a 5-4 victory.
Mets second baseman and native Puerto Rican Roberto Alomar received the loudest applause, but fans quickly adopted the Expos' own second baseman, Jose Vidro, who is also from Puerto Rico. Vidro hit a two-run homer in the opener.
"I had to be here," said Eugenio Rodriguez, an engineer attending his first major league game Friday with his son Gabriel, 9, who sported a No. 12 Alomar T-shirt and banged two Thunderstix together. "I love baseball. I'm very happy. It's great entertainment."
Rodriguez, who purchased tickets along the first-base line to all 22 games, supports Expos pitcher Javier Vasquez because they are both from Ponce, Puerto Rico.
But whether the crowd, which dined on hot dogs, Kentucky Fried Chicken and pina coladas, will embrace the Expos and their "time share" experiment beyond this first "homestand" against the Mets remains to be seen. And whether their enthusiasm leads to a team being placed in Puerto Rico permanently still seems a long shot.
Billed as a way to boost revenue for the MLB-owned Expos and expand the game beyond the continental United States and Canada, the San Juan experiment, chosen for its rich baseball history and strong local support, could be merely a quick fix and a few hot tickets for Puerto Ricans. MLB expects to earn $10 million from the endeavor, enough to keep the Expos solvent.
Baseball expected this four-game series against the Mets, the start of "Serie de Los Expos de Montreal," to be popular -- Saturday's sellout even eclipsed Friday's crowd of 17,906. The Atlanta Braves are here Tuesday through Thursday and should also be attractive because Puerto Ricans watch the Braves regularly on TBS.
But because of what locals describe as a fickle fan base, much like South Florida, the Cincinnati Reds and an injured Ken Griffey Jr. aren't expected to be as big a draw. Interest in winter league baseball has declined since the mid-1990s, when big-league superstars stopped coming to Puerto Rico.
Other series -- the Texas Rangers and Juan Gonzalez in June, the Marlins and Ivan Rodriguez in September, followed by the Chicago Cubs and Sammy Sosa -- should be lively.
Baseball will measure the experiment by attendance at the cozy hitter's ballpark that can seat 18,200, including 4,000 bleachers that were added in the outfield.
MLB President Robert A. DuPuy said baseball will monitor interest as the season progresses to determine if the opening crowd "is not just a novelty," he said, "that they truly are fans."
Tourism officials say the 8,000 hotel room nights for players, their families, baseball executives and tourists, combined with meals, souvenirs and the income tax assessed on players, should give San Juan's economy an $8 million to $10 million boost.
The biggest complaint, however, has been the steep ticket prices, which range from $10 for the bleachers to $85, with the average more than $30. San Juan promoter MB Sports set the prices, saying they were comparable to other concerts and sporting events.
Midalia Ortiz, however, isn't sure she can afford to see her beloved Braves this week. She and her children happened upon the free Baseball Festival, a mini version of All-Star FanFest, adjacent to the stadium on Friday.
"It's too expensive. It's better to watch it on TV," said Ortiz, who attends secretarial school. "I love it. I always fight with my husband because he doesn't like baseball games and I do."
Antonio Munoz Sr., owner of MB Sports, defended the prices, saying the stadium is smaller than other major league ballparks and the games are special events. He said Puerto Rico has shown it can support baseball and would like to host more than 22 games in the future.
"We look at everything, if it is possible," Munoz said. "Today the estadio sells out."
If the experiment works, it could be used as a tool to help other struggling teams, but before that happens, baseball needs to determine what to do with the Expos. The Washington, D.C.-northern Virginia area tops the list of potential new homes for the team, but baseball, which intends to make a decision by July's All-Star Game, could decide to keep the Expos in 2004.
"We could end up playing 80 games in Montreal [in 2004]," Expos President Tony Tavares said. "We could go 40-40 somewhere, we could go 60-20 as we're doing this year. We might play no games next year in Montreal. I think the slate is absolutely clean and wide open."
Placing a team on an island with a median household income of slightly more than $14,000 could be risky.
Alomar, who said he and Mets shortstop Rey Sanchez were honored to play in their native country, said this is the island's time to show whether it can support baseball.
"If Puerto Rico wants to have a franchise later on, that's why it's so important for Puerto Rico to sell out these games," Alomar said.
Mets Manager Art Howe, who played and managed in Puerto Rico, however, said he wouldn't be surprised if a team does move to San Juan. "There's tremendous fan support here. They know the game. They love the game. It's not that far from Florida. What the heck?"
As players and locals waxed about Puerto Rico's deep baseball roots and extolled the talent and spirit of their own Hall of Famer, Roberto Clemente, the atmosphere at Hiram Bithorn Stadium, named for the first Puerto Rican to enter the major leagues, was festive like a postseason game.
Vendors hawked cotton candy and mixed fruit drinks in the stands. Fans, who even did the wave, snatched up souvenirs ranging from $80 jerseys to $20 T-shirts commemorating the historic series, to $15 dolls of Expos mascot Youppi.
Vidro, who also hit a double Friday and then spent time chatting with Alomar and Sanchez at second base, was overwhelmed to be playing in front of his family.
"I was going around second base, and I almost had tears in my eyes, it was so special," Vidro said.
Opening ceremonies Friday included a rendition of Puerto Rican anthem La Borinquena between O Canada and The Star Spangled Banner. Orlando Cepeda, the Puerto Rican Hall of Famer whose number appears on the stadium's outfield wall alongside those of Clemente and Ruben Gomez, threw out the first pitch. Fans sang God Bless America and Take Me Out to the Ballgame en espanol during the seventh-inning stretch.
Carlos Varona, an advertising executive, carried his commitment to the Expos into the stands on a yellow sign that read "Keep the Expos in San Juan."
"They're looking for a home. Why not here?" Varona said. "We like baseball. Whatever happens, there are going to be more people than in Montreal."
Varona, who spent nearly $1,000 to attend all 22 games in $45 seats behind home plate, argues that Puerto Ricans have money for the pricey tickets, but at the same time, he said he couldn't afford the nearly $4,000 he would need for a full 81 home games. He still believes San Juan should have a team.
"This is my only lobby so far," he said, pointing at his sign.
BASEBALL IN PUERTO RICO
The Expos will play 22 games - more than a quarter of their home schedule - during three "homestands" at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico, beginning today as a way to boost revenue and promote baseball beyond North America.
Population: 3,957,988 (July 2002)
Language and Ancestry: Spanish and English. Most Puerto Ricans are white and of Spanish origin; 8 percent are black.
Literacy: 89 percent of those 15 and older can read and write.
Government: Commonwealth of the U.S.
Median Household Income: $14,412 (1999)
Area: Slightly less than three times the size of Rhode Island.
Source: CIA-World Factbook; U.S. Census
More than a quarter of all Major League Baseball players were born outside the U.S. While the largest number - 79 - hail from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico ranks second with 38 and Venezuela is third with 37.
Prominent Puerto Ricans playing in San Juan:
Javier Vasquez, Jose Vidro (Expos)
Roberto Alomar (Mets)
Juan Gonzalez (Rangers)
Javy Lopez (Braves)
Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, Mike Lowell (Marlins)
Other Latin players playing in San Juan:
Vladimir Guerrero (Dominican Republic, Expos)
Livan and Orlando Hernandez (Cuba, Expos)
Armando Benitez (Dominican Republic, Mets)
Sammy Sosa (Dominican Republic, Cubs)
Luis Castillo, Juan Encarnacion (Dominican Republic, Marlins)
Rafael Palmeiro (Cuba, Rangers)
Source: Major League Baseball
Expos in San Juan
Friday-Monday: vs. New York Mets
April 15-17: vs. Atlanta Braves
April 18-20: vs. Cincinnati Reds
June 3-5: vs. Anaheim Angels
June 6-8: vs. Texas Rangers
Sept. 5-7: vs. Marlins
Sept. 9-11: vs. Chicago Cubs
- Sarah Talalay