A disagreement between Laredo’s binational baseball team, Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos, and the stadium manager of their U.S. ballpark could result in the team leaving the city.
The Tecolotes are part of the Mexican Baseball League. They play half their games in Laredo, and the other half in Nuevo Laredo.
Garrett Kroeger, a sports reporter for the Laredo Morning Times, spoke to the Texas Standard about what’s behind the dispute. Listen to the interview above or read the transcript below.
This transcript has been edited lightly for clarity:
Texas Standard: This is quite a unique situation, with a pro team playing half its home games in one country and a half in another. How long has the team been doing this?
Garrett Kroeger: They returned here to Laredo and have been doing this since 2017. But before that, they had this unique situation, probably for like a good three decades, up until they left in the early 2000s. because the person who bought the team decided to move them down to Veracruz. But this has been a long tradition, having a binational baseball team playing here in Laredo and Nuevo Laredo.
Tell us a little bit more about this conflict between the Tecos and their home ballpark in the U.S. What’s that about?
This actually has been going on for almost two years now. Originally, the dispute started when the Tecos brought up their issues in their contract with the city. They had exclusive rights to pick their concessionaire. And the city’s been forcing them to use a concessionaire company that they don’t really personally like because that company hasn’t really been paying them the money, and also has been selling what they have told me is r really bad food, bad concession stuff.
And also, they wanted access to the stadium year-round because the Mexican Baseball League requires all their teams have access to their stadiums year-round. And right now, they only have it for March to October. So for four months, they don’t really have any access to the stadium here in Laredo. So they just wanted the capability to get full-time access. But with this venue company here in Laredo has been kind of interfering with their operations, as the Tecos have put it.
They might leave Laredo again?
Yeah, they might leave Laredo again, because right now, as they’ve told me, they can’t really do their operations correctly with this venue management company here in Laredo called SGX Venue Management. They’ve been butting heads and they don’t really see eye to eye. They both said they’re willing to compromise, but with this latest issue, it just doesn’t seem possible.
But now I understand that this week, the police were called to the ballpark while some of the team’s employees were there working. Do you have details on what actually happened?
Apparently, SGX Venue Management called the police on the Tecos because some of the Tecos personnel were in the offices that they have full access to, according to the contract with the city. And apparently, the police were there because the venue manager called to say that the Tecos were trespassing. So they had an argument with the police. They had a talk with the police. So because of this incident, the Tecos have now filed a lawsuit and have gotten a temporary restraining order against the new management company.
So it sounds like it’s getting uglier. How does this get resolved? What are the options?
The options are either they come to a compromise – which really does not seem like a possibility at this point – between the venue management company and the Tecos. Or maybe the city comes in and says, ‘hey, we need a new venue management company to save the Tecos, to keep them here.” Or the Tecos might just play their entire 2022 season over in Nuevo Laredo and look for a brand new home elsewhere in 2023.
I can’t imagine there would be lots of fans on this side of the border, too happy about that?
Most definitely not. I mean, they’ve already lost the Tecos once. They were very happy that get them back here in 2017. And if they were to leave again, the Tecos will probably never come back.