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Sunday, October 1, 2023

Major scandal puts Leones baseball playoffs at risk

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Accusations cast a long shadow over the Leones de Yucatán organization after defeating the Olmecas de Tabasco in their first game of the playoff season. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

The Leones de Yucatán organization is accused of forging the documents of several foreign-born baseball players.

According to Proceso, the Leones handed in fake birth certificates to México’s immigration service to obtain Mexican citizenship for some players.

The forged documents were reportedly issued in rural communities where local officials could be bribed.

If proven, the accusations are likely to lead to legal woes for the team, as well as elimination from the ongoing playoffs.

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Team owners Erick and Juan José Arellano Hernández declined to comment. 

The players involved in the scandal include Cuban-born infielder Lázaro Alonso and American pitchers Jake Thompson, Tim Peterson, and Casey Coleman.

According to the rules set by México’s major league baseball, each team can only have a maximum of seven foreign players on their roster. 

This rule pressures teams to obtain Mexican citizenship for foreign players whenever possible to open up further slots. 

Major league baseball in Mexico relies heavily on players from countries such as Venezuela, Cuba, Dominican Republic, and the United States. 

In 2022, the Leones won the Serie del Rey and were crowned champions for the fourth time.  

Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy, and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway.
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