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The Tijuana Truenos open their season tonight at Estadio Cerro Colorado against the Ensenada Marineros. On Tuesday, new manager Pedro Guerrero and the team met with the media at Pockets Billar in Tijuana.
Former San Diego Padre Sid Monge, 51, originally from Agua Prieta, is the pitching coach.
Guerrero, 55, a native of the Dominican Republic, was co-MVP of the 1981 World Series when the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the New York Yankees four games to two. The slugger was traded to the Cardinals in mid-1988, the last year the Dodgers won a World Series title.
Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Ad for game, Frontera (PDF).
Guerrero likely is trying to use the managerial post to get back into the major leagues in some capacity. A 2010 story in L.A. Observed, "Pedro Guerrero Wants Back in the Club," wrote about how Guerrero wanted a job in Major League Baseball. It quoted baseball insiders as saying he will have to earn his way back as a result of his drinking and other problems when he was a player and beyond.
A 2010 MLB.com story, "Guerrero sincere he's turned life around; Ex-Dodger wants to return to game, says he's changed man," also makes reference to his acquittal on drug conspiracy charges in a 1999 cocaine sting set up by a Drug Enforcement Administration agent in Miami. Guerrero, who smokes, said emphatically Tuesday, "I never have had a problem with drugs." During a 2002 visit to Dodger Stadium, he said of the charges, "I was at the wrong place at the wrong time. That's it." His attorney helped get him acquitted by arguing that the grade-school educated Guerrero had an IQ of 70 and was not intelligent enough to understand he had agreed to a drug deal; the people involved in the U.S. sting did not call it cocaine, but rather "little animals."
Here's hoping that Guerrero indeed has the intelligence to guide the Truenos to a successful season and truly has turned his life around. It can be a win-win situation for all involved, as an image-conscious Tijuana gets a world-class baseball talent to showcase and Guerrero gets a chance to prove his baseball worth away from the batting box.
Update, March 30: Ensenada beats Truenos, 5-4, before 6,000. Story.
New Tijuana Truenos manager Pedro Guerrero has arrived in Tijuana and has begun working out with his players. The former Los Angeles Dodger and St. Louis Cardinal (far left in photo) said it is the first time he has managed outside his native Dominican Republic.
"Look, I was in my house (in the Dominican Republic) practically doing nothing, one tires of doing the same thing, so I wanted to leave the country and do something new," the club quoted him as saying.
Guerrero, 55, a lifetime .300 hitter, was profiled Monday in El Mexicano newspaper. The co-MVP of the 1981 World Series told the paper he enjoyed playing with the Charros de Jalisco in 1993 and has a lot of respect for Mexican baseball. Guerrero said he has a small baseball school in his native Dominican Republic and remains good friends with former Dodger pitcher Fernando Valenzuela, who also was a member of the 1981 championship team.
The Truenos season begins March 28.
Story, El Mexicano.