ESPN Deportes Heats Up the Screen with More Than 60 Winter League...

ESPN Deportes Heats Up the Screen with More Than 60 Winter League Baseball Games

Exclusive Coverage of Winter Baseball from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Mexico


For Immediate Release

PRN Editor
PR Newswire


3 pt

     BRISTOL, Conn., Oct. 14 /PRNewswire/ — As
the 2008 Major League Baseball season comes to an end, ESPN Deportes will
present the most extensive coverage of winter baseball from the Dominican
Republic, Venezuela and Mexico. ESPN Deportes will televise more than 60 winter
league baseball games, including each league’s championship series.  In addition to its extensive coverage of
each league, ESPN Deportes will for the first time air Beisbol Esta Noche every
Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

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    Winter baseball-related content will be
featured across various platforms: ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Deportes Radio, and ESPN Deportes La Revista. ESPN Deportes will feature more
than 200 hours of winter baseball-related programming — the most ever
televised by any network in the U.S. — with a group of at least 12
commentators, including hosts, analysts, reporters and contributors. Coverage
of Winter Baseball will culminate with the Exclusive coverage of the 2009
Caribbean Series LIVE from Mexicali, Mexico. 


    Live coverage begins Wednesday, Oct. 15,
with the Venezuelan League featuring Navegantes del Magallanes and Cardenales de Lara
at 8:00 p.m. ET.
Coverage of winter baseball from the Dominican Republic
begins Sunday, November 2 with the battle between Leones del Escogido vs. Las
Aguilas del Licey. ESPN Deportes will also air the finals of the Mexican
Pacific League in January.



    This season, ESPN Deportes will televise
one regular-season game per week, every Wednesday, plus exclusive select
playoff games and the entire championship series. The Venezuelan Professional
Baseball League consists of eight teams in two divisions (East Division:
Navegantes del Magallanes, Leones de Caracas, Tiburones de la Guaira, Caribes
de Anzoategui; and West Division: Tigres de Aragua, Aguilas de Zulia,
Cardenales de Lara, Bravos de Margarita). The league’s elimination (opening)
round includes 62 games from October to December. The top two teams from each
division, as well as the best third place team, will move on to the 16-game
round robin semifinals in January. The top two teams from the semifinals
advance to a best-of-seven series in a 2-3-2 home field format at the end of
January. The Venezuelan champion moves on to the Caribbean Series. Venezuela
has won the Caribbean Series six times, most recently in 2006, when the Leones
del Caracas took the title.  Notable
player’s that have played in Venezuela include: Luis Aparicio, Dave Concepcion,
Francisco Rodriguez, Miguel Cabrera and Johan Santana.


    Commentator Lineup

    Luis Alfredo Alvarez, play-by-play

    Alvarez joined ESPN in 1995 and continues
to handle play-by-play for a variety of sports. His assignments have included
baseball, golf and tennis. He also serves as host for Beisbol Esta Noche, the
company’s Spanish-language original production of Baseball Tonight, and
Cronometro, modeled after Pardon the Interruption. He has covered high-profile
events such as tennis’ Australian Open and French Open, golf’s PGA Tour,
Champions Tour and LPGA, and both the Summer and Winter X Games. A native of
Caracas, Venezuela, Alvarez began his broadcasting career at Omnivision, where
he served as a play-by-play commentator for baseball and basketball.


    Francisco Blavia, analyst

    Blavia joins the ESPN Deportes team this
year as an analyst for the 2008/2009 Venezuelan Baseball League. Blavia has
more than 10 years of experience covering sports; has worked for some of the
most recognized TV and radio networks in Venezuela including Venevision, RCTV,
SportPlus and Deportes Union Radio covering Venezuelan baseball, MLB, soccer
and Venezuelan basketball. Blavia also had the opportunity to work as a
commentator for the Cardenales de Lara baseball team for 4 years and currently
covers Leones del Caracas. A native of Barquisimeto; Blavia obtained his degree
in Communications at the Universidad Catolica Cecilio Acosta de Maracaibo.
Blavia currently resides in Caracas, Venezuela.



    Exclusive coverage begins Sunday, November
2, at 4 p.m. ET with a live telecast of the Leones del Escogido vs. Tigres del
Licey. This season, ESPN Deportes plans to telecast 26 Dominican Baseball
League games, mainly on Fridays nights and Sunday afternoons. The Dominican
Baseball League consists of six teams: Aguilas Cibaenas; Azucareros del Este;
Estrellas Orientales; Gigantes del Cibao; Leones del Escogido; and Tigres del
Licey. Each team plays a 50-game schedule, with the top four teams advancing to
the playoffs. The titleholder then goes on to represent the Dominican Republic
in the Caribbean Series.  Notable
player’s include: Juan Marichal, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz and Jose Reyes.


    Commentator Lineup

    Kevin Cabral, play-by-play commentator

    One of the most respected sportscasters in
the Dominican Republic, Cabral returns for his third consecutive season of
Dominican Baseball League. Cabral started his broadcasting career in 1983 as
the host of the radio program Frente al Deporte. In 1986, he began what would
become an 18-year stint as a television commentator and announcer for Major
League Baseball games on the regional channel Circuito del Cibao.


    Ernesto Jerez, play-by-play

    A native of Santiago, Dominican Republic,
Jerez joined ESPN in 1995 as a baseball announcer and has become the signature
voice for the company’s Spanish-language Major League Baseball games. He
primarily serves as game announcer during ESPN’s Spanish-language Sunday Night
Baseball telecasts.  Known to viewers
for his famous home run call, he also regularly contributes to SportsCenter,
ESPN Deportes Radio and


    Carlos Jose Lugo, sideline reporter 

    Lugo brings vast baseball knowledge and more
than 17 years of broadcasting experience in radio, television and print media
to his role as field reporter for ESPN Deportes’ telecasts of the Dominican
Baseball League. Lugo launched his broadcasting career in 1987 as an MLB
analyst on Radio Dial in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic. He is a
familiar voice on radio, known for his work as a sports commentator and MLB
analyst for FM-103, Radio Continental and Radio Clarin, and Rumba FM (98.5).


    Juan Marichal, analyst

    San Francisco Giants great and Hall of
Fame pitcher Juan Marichal returns for his third consecutive season.  Marichal, the only Dominican-born player in
the Hall of Fame, started his career with Dominican League’s Leones del
Escogido. The high-kicking right-hander made his Major League Baseball debut
against the Phillies in 1960, finishing his first game with a one-hitter,
striking out 12 in a 2-0 victory. Marichal won 243 games, was named to nine
All-Star teams and was named the All-Star Game’s Most Valuable Player in 1965.



    ESPN Deportes will air the finals of the
best baseball Mexico has to offer; the Mexican Pacific League in January. The
Mexican Pacific League (Spanish: Liga Mexicana del Pacifico, LMP), also known
as MexPac, has been running for over five decades as a winter league. It has
long been recognized as one of the big four winter leagues and features a mix
of major league players, top prospects and Mexican League players. The champion
team has played in the Caribbean Series since 1971. The season is from the
middle of October to the end of December with playoffs and final series in
January. Notable players include: Fernando Valenzuela, Vinny Castilla, Jorge
Cantu, Oliver Perez and Esteban Loiza.


    Commentator Lineup

    Jorge Eduardo Sanchez

    Sanchez currently serves as anchor for
ESPN Deportes’ SportsCenter.  He first
joined ESPN in 2000 as a commentator and play-by-play announcer for ESPN 2 in
Mexico, serving as a play-by-play announcer for Mexican Pacific League, the
Caribbean Series, Tennis Masters Series, and NCAA Basketball. 


    Oscar Soria, analyst 

    Longtime Spanish-language voice of the
Arizona Diamondbacks, Oscar Soria returns for his third consecutive season as
Mexican Pacific League analyst on ESPN Deportes. Soria is a veteran of 18
seasons as a broadcaster with Mexican Pacific League’s Hermosillo Naranjeros
and also covers the Diamondbacks for Spanish-language paper El Imparcial,
writing a daily column.  The native of
Tijuana, Mexico graduated from Universidad del Noroeste.


    Eitan Benezra, sideline reporter

    A native of Queretaro, Mexico, Benezra
brings vast knowledge in Mexican baseball to ESPN Deportes’ telecasts.  Benezra hosts show “3 y 2 Cuenta
Maxima” Estadio W in Mexico and serves as baseball commentator for Estadio
W 730 AM in Mexico. 


    Beisbol esta Noche

    Carolina Guillen, host

    Now host of Beisbol esta Noche, Guillen
joined ESPN as a SportsCenter anchor for ESPN+ (serving the Southern Cone) in
May 2004. Her work outside of SportsCenter has included a variety of
assignments. She served as co-host for ESPN’s Spanish-language coverage of the
Summer X Games and has served as sideline reporter for the MLB All-Star Games,
Little League World Series and Caribbean Series. Guillen began her career in
her native Venezuela with Meridiano Television as a reporter for Winter





(All times ET; Schedule
Subject to Change)

(* denotes delayed games; all
other games live)


Venezuela Baseball
League Schedule                   

           Date            Time (ET)                Teams              

     Wednesday, Oct. 15     8:00 p.m.      Lara @Valencia               

    *Wednesday, Oct. 22    
4:00 a.m.      Bravos @

    *Wednesday, Nov. 5      4:00 a.m.      Bravos@ Caracas              

    *Wednesday, Nov. 12     4:00 a.m.      Zulia @ La Guaira            

     Wednesday, Nov. 19     8:00 a.m.      Aragua @ Magallanes          

    *Wednesday, Nov. 26     4:00 a.m.      Magallanes @ La Guaira       

     Wednesday, Dec. 3      8:00 p.m.      Caracas @ La Guaira          

    *Wednesday, Dec. 10     4:00 a.m.      La Guaira @ Caracas       

     Wednesday, Dec. 17     8:00 p.m.      Bravos @ Caracas             

     Wednesday, Dec. 17     8:00 p.m.      Lara @ Aragua                

    Dominican Baseball League Schedule (Games
to be announced at a later date)                                                               

    Mexican Pacific League (Games to be
announced at a later date)      





ESPN Deportes Heats Up the Screen with More Than 60 Winter League Baseball Games