Although tickets were cheaper in Nuevo Laredo, the average paid attendance in Laredo was nearly double, at over 4,000. Fans twirled noisemakers, but those, plus drums and megaphones, were more prevalent in Nuevo Laredo. The attractions in Laredo included postgame fireworks and a playground set up beyond the outfield.
An in-game announcement reminded fans visiting from Mexico that their $3.50 border crossing fee by car would be waived with a Tecolotes ticket stub. Laredo, which collects the border toll when leaving the city, did this to encourage attendance from Mexico.
“It’s great that the Tecos are back,” said Beto Garcia, 61, a retired truck driver born and raised in Nuevo Laredo who moved to Laredo 25 years ago to join his wife and to work. He nursed a beer while sitting on a picnic table surrounded by the group of family and friends that accompany him to many Tecolotes games.
“People here respond well to baseball,” he added. “We’re a small town, but this is how we entertain ourselves.”
Many players understood what they meant to the fans on both sides. Their travel inconveniences were trivial compared with those of the many people who crossed the border daily with much less.
“Sometimes you don’t understand the magnitude of what we’re doing, but this is really big,” said infielder Alejandro Rivero, 30, who is from the Yucatán Peninsula. “Issues between the countries are among the politicians and leaders. We’re just the athletes who play on both sides, but we’re showing people can enjoy life and live in peace.”
Playing in two countries resonated deeply with outfielder Amaury Cazaña, 40. He escaped his native Cuba on a boat 13 years ago. He ended up in Miami, was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006, but never reached the major leagues. He became a naturalized Mexican this year through his wife, who is Mexican.