RIO RANCHO, N.M. — People have always crossed borders to play baseball, and the sport routinely reaches across borders to fans. But rarely do players have to cross a border almost every day to participate in a game they love while dodging the tensions and rhetoric around this imaginary line.
And that’s what members of the Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos, a binational professional baseball team with home stadiums in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, and Laredo, Texas, have to do.
A new Showtime sports documentary follows this AAA Mexican League baseball team that plays on both sides of the border amid the tension around immigration, divisive politics, and environmental concerns. “Bad Hombres” centers around the 2019 season of the Tecolotes as players chase dreams and a championship while avoiding drug cartel members who have lookouts in every city.
Players often cross the border by foot to each game with equipment in tow. They must also endure a militarized Mexico tank patrolling the parking lot of its Nuevo Laredo stadium in the midst of cartel battles. The team has to wear U.S. Customs and Border Protection patches at Laredo games sponsored by the federal agency.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump’s heated rhetoric about a border wall and promises to “close the border” threaten the team’s season. Immigrants fleeing violence in Central America land in both towns.
For two cities long connected by economies and families, the Tecolotes serve as a welcome uniter — even just for nine innings.