The United States represents opportunity, success and a fresh start to many immigrants around the world.
However, it is not the only country that can offer this as several former major league baseball players have seen firsthand with Mexico.
The Mexican Baseball League offers good pay, good competition, stability and love from its fans to its players. Junior Lake, Tom Wilhelmsen, Delmon Young, Jorge Cantu, Carlos Zambrano and Everth Cabrera are just a handful of players that you will find in this league.
EVT had the opportunity to talk with former Oakland Athletics’ first baseman Daric Barton, who now plays with Pericos de Puebla in the LMB.
Many former MLB players will cross paths in Mexico and the 32-year-old shared his thoughts on the subject. Barton said, “It’s baseball man, baseball is such a small world you run across guys all the time. Delmon (Young) and I have been playing against each other since we were 12, so it’s fun to play with him now, playing against him for so many years. Hank Conger was also here, he’s no longer here, but I played against him in high school. Small world, baseball is a small world, but it’s always fun seeing guys I played against in the past.”
Barton played in the MLB with the Athletics from 2007-2014, but now has found new life in Mexico since turning 30.
The Vermont native was known as a good defensive player, who had patience at the plate in the MLB. In Mexico, Barton is an all-star, a slugger and one of the most consistent bats in the league.
The first baseman shared his thoughts on his 2018 season so far and said, “So far so good, obviously baseball is a game of ups and downs, so you have to weather the storm when you’re doing bad and you have to take advantage of it when you’re doing well. As long as I try and stay consistent and have attainable goals, try to hit the ball hard, have the right bat path, everything will be all right.”
Family is a very important thing for Barton as he shared in his thoughts on the new short tournament format in the Mexican Baseball League. “I like it because I get to go home and see my family. Baseball-wise it’s tough because you have a break and a long break especially if you don’t make the playoffs. It’s tough to come back and try to get in that same groove that you were in before.”
Despite playing in the MLB, you can tell Barton’s proudest achievement is Carter, his nine and a half old son. The American infielder played with his son on the field before the start of the game in Tijuana and he let everyone in the stadium know his love for his young one with the picture on the scoreboard when he came to bat that included Carter in it.
The former Athletic’ is not interested in returning to the major leagues again, that is a chapter that he has already lived and his priorities and goals have changed. Barton said, “My ultimate goal is to play as long as I can, wherever I can make as much money as possible. I’d like to play long enough for my son to come out and remember watching me play, so hopefully another four, five years.”
While some players want to chase the fame, glory and be remembered by millions, Barton will be remembered by some loyal Athletics’ fans, Mexican baseball fans and most importantly his son Carter and he will be more than happy.