Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Fernando Valenzuela is throwing out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Mexico’s World Baseball Classic qualifier on Thursday night against the Czech Republic at Estadio B-Air in Mexicali.
The game begins at 7:30 p.m. PT and will be broadcast by ESPN Deportes. Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez left Spring Training after Tuesday’s game as he committed to playing for Team Mexico.
Gonzalez also played for the Mexican national team in 2006, 2009 and 2013. His older brother, Edgar, serves as manager. Valenzuela was Mexico’s pitching coach during the 2006, 2009 and 2013 WBC tournaments.
Joining Gonzalez and Valenzuela in Mexicali is Dodgers broadcaster Pepe Yñiguez, and famed Dodgers scout Mike Brito as bench coach for Mexico.
On the day Gonzalez was set to depart from Camelback Ranch, he catered a taco truck from a Phoenix area restaurant to provide lunch for his teammates.
The next World Baseball Classic will take place in March 2017. Along with the Czech Republic and Mexico, Germany and Nicaragua are competing in Mexicali from March 17-20 in an attempt to earn a tournament berth.
Panama City is also hosting a qualifying tournament, with Colombia, France, Panama and Spain competing in that bracket. The winner of each qualifier will advance to the 2017 WBC. Mexico is the highest-ranked baseball nation that has yet to qualify for next year’s games.