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A fine evening of baseball

©2005 Gary Robins "Baseball in Sancti Spiritus, Cuba"
January 29 -- The highlight of our second week in Cuba was our expedition a few days ago up to Sancti Spiritus. Our Aussie traveling buddies Alison and Rebecca had never seen baseball, and Carol's always up for a bit of adventure, so we found ourselves a taxi driver who found us a game in a town about 80 kilometers over the hills.

There, under a full moon on a warm January night (think about that one, eh), we kicked back and joined about 20,000 screaming and boisterous Cubans for an evening of that most passionate of national activities, el beisbol cubana, as the hometown Sancti Spiritus team downed those upstarts from Ciego de Avila, 5 to 3. It was baseball at its finest (no commercial interruptions!), since these teams have six players between them on the Cuban national team, including left fielder Tomas Cepedes, #24 on the Sancti Spiritus squad who several locals in the stands told me was the best player in the country. Alas, Tomas had an off night as he was walked twice in a tight, defensive contest, and grounded out twice.

The game was tied at one each for the first few innings, and got really exciting and tense in the top of the ninth as Ciego de Avila loaded the bases on a single, a walk, and a late throw on a bunt, with nobody out and the score at 5-3. However, a forced out at home followed by a really nice double play sent the crowd into a frenzy and let us all go home happy. It was certainly the best baseball we've ever seen, and it was only a mid-season regular league game.

I think the four of us were the only gringos in attendance, but everybody made us feel welcome and pointed out all the local heros. Out trusty driver Tony got us back to Trinidad safely, and we've spent all our other evenings checking out an abundance of local music.
Four gringos at a baseball game in Sancti Spiritus
At the ball game in Sancti Spiritus: Alison, Rebecca, Carol and me. It was a spirited and enthusiastic crowd, 20,000 Cubans and four gringos.
Cuban baseball: Sancti Spiritus vs Ciego de Avila

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