Chris Roberson and the Naranjeros de Hermosillo defeated Puerto Rico’s Indios de Mayaguez, 7-1, to win the Caribbean Series title this past weekend. Roberson was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Mexico has now won the Caribbean Series championship two years in a row and three times in the past four years.
Chris Roberson punched his glove, jogged 15 feet toward second base from his spot in center field and leaped into the air. He pointed to the sky and smiled. Then came the high-fives, first from his Mexico teammates, then from the club’s mascot and later from the officials for the Caribbean Confederation on a stage with fireworks lighting up the sky at Nueva Esparta Stadium.
Roberson and the Naranjeros de Hermosillo defeated Puerto Rico’s Indios de Mayaguez, 7-1, to win the Caribbean Series title on Saturday night, and the veteran outfielder was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. A team from Mexico has now won the Caribbean Series championship two years in a row and three times in the past four years.
“I’ve just been really fortunate to get a few rings. I’ve had six rings in the last eight years, when you include Mexican League and independent ball,” said Roberson, 34, who hit .370 with two home runs and six RBIs. “This is a big league environment, and these teams bring their best every time out. Shoot, everything just worked out for us now, and we hope to keep chipping away and get more titles.”
Overall, Mexico has won eight Caribbean Series titles since it began participating in the annual tournament in 1970. “This was a great tournament with a lot of strong teams that somebody had to win, and we are happy it was us,” said Mexico manager Matias Carrillo. “It was a tight game, and we are really excited to be champions. I’m really happy for the guys. They played hard.”
Roberson’s sixth-inning home run broke a scoreless tie to set the stage for an inning that would change the game. It also secured his name the annals of Mexican baseball. An excited Roberson giggled during interviews with English and Spanish media, and it’s hard to blame him for being overjoyed. He’s already come a long way.
[. . .] Roberson began playing in Mexico the next year, and he has been mainstay for the country at the Caribbean Series ever since.
Roberson’s name had been discussed among the scouts in attendance all week at the Caribbean Series, but some organizations are hesitant to invest on a player his age. Roberson knows as much. [. . .] Like Roberson, Puerto Rico starter Joel Pineiro is keeping his options open. Pitching on three days’ rest, Pineiro shut down the Mexican offense with five scoreless innings Saturday. Overall, Pineiro didn’t allow an earned run in 11 2/3 innings over two appearances during the Caribbean Series.
[. . .] A team from Puerto Rico has not won the Caribbean Series since 2000. The 2014 Caribbean Series will be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico.