When Leone’s reliever Christian Prado reached his sophomore year of high school, he made a decision that would see him move 2,600 miles from home to play a game in a league he never heard of, in a country that he only knew through his parents; he decided to focus on baseball.

The decision turned out to be a good one, it allowed him to play at the collegiate level, eventually leading to a tryout for an independent team in New York.

That team didnt work out, but there was a team interested—the Toros de Tijuana saw something in his arm, so they took a flyer by offering Christian the chance to play pro-baseball in Mexico; the only catch— they wanted him to change positions.

The 24-year-old arrived in Tijuana for the 2018 season–making the transition from shortstop to pitcher–playing in Mexico was a dream come true. In contrast to other American-born players who compare the Mexican League to their time in the Majors or minors in the U.S. who can complain about the food, travel, play style, disparities between one league and another. Chris just knew he was living his dream playing pro-ball.

Growing up a few minutes from Angel Stadium, Tijuana was within driving distance of his family, so when he was traded to the Leones De Yucatan in 2019, he was hesitant. The trade meant moving 2,600 miles from his orange county home to Merida, beginning his real ex-pat journey.

Merida was a completely different experience from the Americanized Tijuana; the food, the people, the choices (or lack thereof) were something that Christian, like many other new comers when they first arrive, had to adapt to. He couldn’t just go to the Oxxo for a Dr. Pepper, and he couldn’t go out at 2 AM to one of five fast food places to get an early morning or a late-night meal. He needed to adapt quickly, but fortunately, Christian had a group of teammates that could show him around and help him get used to the differences.

Prado joined a Leones team who were league champions the previous year, and his 2019 sophomore LMB season saw him pitch a total of 32 innings from the mound while getting used to his new team and new city of Merida. Unfortunately for Prado, his exploration would have to be put on pause when 2020 saw the LMB decide to cancel the baseball season.

The beginning of the 2021 season saw Prado on the reserve list due to orbital damage received in the pre-season, but with the damage healed and his arm feeling great, we saw Christian take the mound for the first time this season in a game three 14-1 win vs. Puebla where he struck out the side! Keeping his 0.00 ERA, as he joked before our chat ended.

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