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Why are the Padres and Giants playing in Mexico City this weekend?

Mexico City will get its first taste of regular-season Major League Baseball this weekend as the Padres and Giants travel to Estadio Alfredo Harp Helú for a two-game series.

Fernando Tatis Jr. of the San Diego Padres bats against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on April 22, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Major League history will be made this weekend, as the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres head south of the border for the first non-exhibition MLB games ever played in Mexico City. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. ET from Estadio Alfredo Harp Helú.

MLB has come to Mexico 11 times in the past, but all of those games have been held in Monterrey — including the first-ever game held outside the U.S. or Canada back in 1996. This will be the first time big league baseball comes to the country’s capital, and it comes at a great time for the sport in Mexico, with the national team just wrapping up a surprise run deep into the 2023 World Baseball Classic and climbing all the way to No. 3 in the world rankings.

Sean Manaea (0-1, 6.61 ERA) will start for the Giants while Joe Musgrove (1-0, 5.40) makes his second start of the year for the Padres, who have longed maintained a fan following just across the border in Baja California. The game is part of MLB’s World Tour, as the league looks to bring its product to more international audiences. (The Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals will play the other international series on tap this year, heading to London Stadium in late June.)

Estadio Alfredo Harp Helú was set to host the Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks in 2020, but those games were scrapped due to COVID-19. The artificial turf stadium in Mexico City was opened in 2019 and has a listed capacity of 20,576. The offensive environment should be worth watching: With Mexico City’s elevation being roughly 2,000 feet higher than Coors Field and the park boasting some smaller dimensions (400 feet to center field, 325 feet down the lines), Fernando Tatis Jr. and Co. should be able to put up some crooked numbers.

Giants vs. Padres info

Pitchers: Sean Manaea vs. Joe Musgrove
First pitch: 11:10 a.m. ET
Giants local broadcast: NBC Sports Bay Area
Padres local broadcast: Bally Sports San Diego
Live stream: MLB Network, MLB App