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baseball in cuba


baseball is the national pastime in cuba. there were pick up games going on all day in every park.

baseball game white vs. white

in the middle of the havana streets, little boys played “taco” – stickball using a cut off broomstick for a bat and plastic water bottle cap for a ball.

kids baseball team

i never saw a girl playing.

on friday night kevin, his parents, and i went to a baseball game. without internet it was hard to determine if there was a game, and what time. we heard it might be cancelled because the stadium lights were broken. the stadium (estadio latino americano) is located in a rougher, darker, part of town. we got in a taxi and said “beisbol? pelota? estadio?” and the cab driver started yelling “beisbol! beisbol!” and was pretty sure there was no game that night and the stadium would be dark.

latino americano bench

we drove up and the floodlights were on and the game was on and starting at 8pm and excited fans were going inside. we were (nicely) directed by police to go buy tickets at a window charging $3 instead of $1 that locals paid, and ushered to seats on the visitors side through the farthest gate away.

el leon azul (blue lion)

the local havana team is called the industriales. their mascot is a blue lion, and they are like the yankees of the cuban league. they were playing the cigar makers from pinar del rio.

fired up crowd

the stadium was big. and clean. and full of energy. and people. and people blowing vuvuzelas. air horns. there were drummers. non-stop. we walked around the entire stadium, and it was on the verge of out of control going through the home team side. they did not serve beer, which kept it from having a hooligan feel.  it was exciting.

kevin was impressed with the pitching. 

30 second video of the scene:

we had to meet people in old havana at 930, so after the 3rd inning the 4 of us left and went into the street and kind of wandered looking for non-existent taxis. a few older men were sitting on a corner stoop, saw us and said “taxi?”  we hesitantly followed him down a dark alley and got into his small old honda civic-like car after he shooed a cat out of the front seat. he was not a taxi driver, he was a man with a car looking for some tourist cash. the gas light was flashing and his brights were on as he drove us over potholes back to town. we gave him $10.