June 19, 1998

Bullfight World... by Lyn Sherwood

A Less Than Memorable Afternoon in Tijuana

Have you ever had one of those days when nothing seemed to go right? And, just when you thought that they couldn't get any worse, they did? The toreros, fans, bulls, and the empresario had exactly that kind of day, last Sunday, in Plaza El Toreo de Tijuana.

The problem began during the sorteo. Two of the bulls of the José Julian Llaguno ranch were rejected for being underweight. But, by the time that the afternoon had come to a grateful close, only three Llaguno bulls had been presented.

The card featured Enrique Garza, Federico Pizarro, and Andres Sánchez, each of whom enthusiastically greeted the afternoon. But, by the end of the day, they and the light crowd that watched them perform probably wished that they had chosen, instead, to watch The Bulls on TV rather than those in the plaza.

Enrique Garza, show here from his previous tijuana appearance, cut the only ear of the day--and it wasn't deserved--during a dreadful afternoon in Plaza El Toreo de Tijuana.

Garza was unable to accomplish much with the cape to the first bull, Comandante, which was soso (stupid). Garza's placement of banderillas were accurate, but without class. The matador's efforts with the muleta were defensive, and his sword was far less than accurate. Division of opinions.

With his second bull, Cronista, Garza offered better cape work, including performing the al limón with each of his compatriots. Again, Garza's banderillas placements were accurate, but without artistry. Then, with the muleta, the matador from Monterey gave a long faena that contained plenty of passes. But, he failed to torear, he merely took advantage of the bull's honest attack; he didn't impose. Garza's sword placement was instantly successful, but disgrafully low, limiting him to the only ear of the day. He wanted two ears, but in reality, even the singular appendage was not deserved.

Sánchez, the young Spaniard, initiated his Mexican debut with Salmantino, to which he gave unsteady Verónicas. His faena had some scattered moments, and his sword placement was low, but he was granted a turn of the ring.

His second bull, Mariachi, from the San Antonio de Triana ranch, was a good animal, which allowed the torero from Salamanca an excellent faena. His passes were low, slow, and artistic. Sánchez ran the hand long, controlling and dominating the toro, and cargando la suerte. But, he failed to bury a lethal sword and too quickly resorted to the descabello. He heard an aviso, but nevertheless was warmly applauded. His faena was the only bright spot in an otherwise dreary day. He was applauded, but declined to take a vuelta.

Federico Pizarro endured an afternoon of total frustration. His first bull, from the Yturbe Hermanos ranch, strolled into the plaza, as if saying, "What't happening, Dude?" The animal had serious sight deficiencies, which the plaza judge interpreted as cowardice. The bull was exchanged for one from Santo Domingo, to which Pizarro gave well-done, but very wide, Verónicas.

The bull accepted a light pic and promptly overthrew the picador's horse, which, under the influence of the drugs that are given to all picadors' horses, lay down, in a rosy stupor. Twenty, long minutes later, the monosábios finally got the equine back onto its hooves. But the bull —which seemed to wonder what all of the excitement was about— turned out to be lousy and limited Pizarro to horn-to-horn work. Applause.

Anxious to redeem himself, Pizarro opened with a fárol de rodillas to Lanzador. But, while the matador was attempting Verónicas, the animal developed a cramp in its right, rear leg. Such is a common circumstance, which usually resolves itself, after a few minutes of running.

But, once again, the plaza judge misinterpreted the problem and ordered the animal out of the ring. That was a shame, for the bull showed great promise, and the judge should have known better. The exchange resulted in a heated protest by Pizarro and his manager. The judge retaliated against Pizarro, by imposing a fine, while management began calculating how much money the afternoon was going to cost.

With the last bull of the day. Pizarro demonstrated his disdain of the situation, by allowing a Chinampas bull to be badly over-pic'ed, and bringing still another fine, this one to the picador. The matador followed up with a deliberately awful performance with the muleta, effectively transmitting a strong suggestion that the plaza judge should find some other activity to occupy his Sunday afternoon.

So, for still another Sunday in this young, but rapidly aging season, the fans left the arena, shaking their heads and wondering when they would see something worthy of their applause.

Perhaps, a week off will give everybody a breather. The next Tijuana corrida will be celebrated, July 5, when the very popular Eloy Cavazos will head the card. No other details of the cartel were announced.