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Blue Wahoos To Usher 2024 Season In Historic Way With Exhibition Games Against Monterrey 

With a variety of dancers, musicians and singers, shown during introductory press conference, the Blue Wahoos are hoping to make their 2-game exhibition series on Apri 2-3 vs. Monterrey a festive success. (Bill Vilona/Pensacola Blue Wahoos)
March 29, 2024

In a rare occurrence within professional baseball, the Blue Wahoos will start their 2024 season in a historic way. They are staging a special prelude on Tuesday and Wednesday (April 2-3) with home exhibition games against the Monterrey Sultanes, a long-standing member of the Mexican League, which has an ownership

In a rare occurrence within professional baseball, the Blue Wahoos will start their 2024 season in a historic way.

They are staging a special prelude on Tuesday and Wednesday (April 2-3) with home exhibition games against the Monterrey Sultanes, a long-standing member of the Mexican League, which has an ownership group connected with a multimedia conglomerate that will televise the games back to Mexico.

It is believed to be a first-of-its-kind event, especially when including the television aspect, pairing an affiliated team in Major League Baseball with a Mexican League team in a two-game event, far from the visiting team’s country. The games will include musicians, singers, dancers in a festive atmosphere.

The Sultanes (pronounced Suel-tawn-ehs), managed by former 14-year MLB outfielder Roberto Kelly, are also getting ready to open their regular season.

Mexican League teams have played MLB affiliates in Texas, including this year with the San Antonio Missions – the Double-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres – playing the Saltillo Saraperos on Friday and Saturday. But never has something like this happened with an MILB team in this part of the country.

“For the fans and everyone involved, it will be great,” said Blue Wahoos manager Kevin Randel, who was officially announced Wednesday by the Miami Marlins as Pensacola’s returning manager, along with the return of Danny Black as defensive coach, plus six newcomers on the staff.

“It’s going to be like a spring training game and I know for our fans in Pensacola, they probably don’t get a chance to see a spring training game with us in Jupiter (where the Marlins organization trains),” said Randel, who earlier this week was still getting a finalized roster for the Blue Wahoos as the Marlins opened their 2024 season Thursday.

“These games will be great for the players, great for the fans and great for everyone in general. And really, a lot of our players have been here at the spring training complex (in Jupiter) going on two months. They will be able to be in Pensacola, playing games under the lights and with a great atmosphere in games that don’t count before the season begins.”


Both games start at 6:05 p.m., the new start time this season for Blue Wahoos home games on Tuesdays thru Saturdays. The game on Wednesday night will be followed by fireworks and musical presentation.

The games are being presented by Nationwide Insurance, a partner with Minor League and Major League Baseball, along with Pensacola Sports and

Bubba Watson (center) with Blue Wahoos owner Quint Studer, right, next to him and Monterrey vice president Guillermo Gonzalez, helped bring the historic exhibition series to Pensacola. Blue Wahoos president Jonathan Giffith, far left and Pensacola mayor D.C. Reeves joined in Nov. 16 press conference at Blue Wahoos Stadium.Bill Vilona/Pensacola Blue Wahoos

All season-ticket holders have been provided tickets through their season purchase. General admission, game-day tickets for interested fans are $18 which include a hot dog, chips and soda.

This special, two-game series has been two years in the making. The Blue Wahoos connection with Pensacola’s pro golf star, two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson, who is a co-investor in the team, helped make all of this happen.

It started when the Sultanes owner, Francisco Gonzalez, read Bubba Watson’s introspective book in 2021 he co-authored, “Up And Down: Victories and Struggles in the Course of Life.”

Gonzalez and team vice president Guillermo “Willie” Gonzalez are avid golfers. They were so touched by the book and learned about Watson’s connection as co-investor with the Blue Wahoos, they opted to check into bringing their team to play the Blue Wahoos.


The two men are part of an ownership group of Grupo Multimedios, a multimedia company of 9,500-plus employees based in Monterrey.

Monterrey is located 299 miles from San Antonio, 302 miles from Corpus Christi. The team was founded in 1939. The Sultanes’ ballpark, Estadio Mobile Super, seats 21,803, making it the largest baseball stadium in Mexico and third largest in Latin America.

Willie Gonzalez traveled to Pensacola in mid-November 2023 for the event announcement press conference with area media and various city and community representatives, including Pensacola mayor D.C. Reeves.

“We share the same values,” Gonzalez said that day. “We want to do the same the (Blue Wahoos) do as a team with the community. They went straight to our hearts. That’s why we’re here.”

When Bubba Watson spoke that day at the news conference, he broke into tears, reflecting on what his book, his life, his influence had impacted a team from Mexico that would play in Pensacola.

“For me to be a small piece of this… to bring something like this to the city of Pensacola, this is a major event,” Watson said. “It means a lot to me. To be able to show people a different culture is truly an amazing day for me and my family to be part of this.”


These two games will feature the Blue Wahoos wearing their alter identity, the Pensacola Pok-Ta-Pok, wearing uniforms that were unveiled last year to great acclaim as part of participation in MILB’s Copa de la Diversion (Fun Cup) series designed to grow the sport and further awareness of the vast Latino heritage in professional baseball.

Pok-Ta-Pok was a Mesoamerican game played in the 16th century as a prelude to a ballgame. It will be demonstrated, as part of a between-innings entertainment, that fans will see.

One of the Sultanes players on their current roster is pitcher Keury Mella, who pitched in parts of two seasons for the Blue Wahoos, while a Cincinnati Reds prospect. Mella was the winning pitcher for the Blue Wahoos in their final regular-season game of 2017.

That led into the Blue Wahoos being crowned Southern League co-champions, after they won a shortened playoff series against Jacksonville with an impending hurricane threat that year.

The Sultanes will arrive on Monday night and will join the Blue Wahoos in a joint team dinner at the ballpark. The Sultanes will then make a pair of school visits on Tuesday to Pensacola’s Oakcrest and Scenic Heights Elementary Schools.

The National Anthem of Mexico will be performed before both games by Pensacola resident Amid Montelongo, a Mexico native. Public address and game music will be provided by Pensacola-based Mario Jimenez, a bilingual DJ and owner of Triple M Entertainment.

Blue Wahoos star emcee, “Downtown Dave” will be part of the on field entertainment and fan engagement. There will be a special “Pinata Run” after the sixth inning. There will be dancers and entertainers to honor and reflect the culture of Mexico and particularly in Monterrey.

The Blue Wahoos have partnered with Grace Resendez McCafferty, publisher of Pensacola’s Latino newspaper, Periodico La Costa, which is now in its 19th year of distribution to Pensacola’s growing Latino community.

There will be exclusive food items prepared by Blue Wahoos executive chef Travis Wilson and his team for food storefronts at the ballpark, as well as alcoholic beverages with specialty margaritas.

In essence, this is going to be a festival, a happening, a special experience for fans to learn and embrace a pair of exhibition games against a Mexican League team that will add to the Blue Wahoos varied breakthrough moments in their 12-year history.

“I have never done anything like this before,” Randel said. “As a player with the Marlins organization, we played the big-league team in an exhibition game in Greensboro (North Carolina) before the season, then we had the Marlins play against the Greensboro team I managed in another year. But never a game anything like this.

“I’m sure it’s going to be a great show for everyone and good way to start the season.”


WHAT: Blue Wahoos International Exhibition Series

WHO: Monterrey (Mexico) Sultanes vs. Blue Wahoos

WHEN: Tuesday-Wednesday, both games at 6:05 p.m.

WHERE: Blue Wahoos Stadium

ADMISSION: One price ticket $18 includes hot dog, soda, chips and best available seats.

INFO: or visit Blue Wahoos box office at the stadium open weekdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

TV: Blab TV locally and live television to Mexico via Multimedios Television Network.