December 24, 2003

My First Baseball Match: A Cuba Story

By Sigge Amdal © 2003

This past Saturday, I went to see the Baseball World Cup finals between Cuba and Panama, and I was really excited because it was my first time and all. At first, we nearly mised the opportunity to enter the stadium because it was nearly sold out. I just kept both hands on my bag and wallet because of all the people. We (me and two friends from campus) climbed to the topside of the stadium, just a little left of the batter (or whatever you call the guy on homebase).

I was very hungry and tired, but I fought against boredom and what not to try to get into the game, which I did after about half an hour or so. First I thought, What is this baseball? So slow, and all those time-outs. When I got used to it, however, the pace really didn’t matter because I was enjoying myself so much. Here’s what I wrote while there:

“It’s halftime, 5 out of 10 rounds played and it’s been 2 hours. Now, I’m at Estadio Latinoamericano watching the finals between Cuba and Panama, and I’m talking about baseball. Being the first time and all, it took me some time to get into the game and understand how the score is working. The stadium is really crowded and I guess the outcome of this match will have an impact on Havana at least for the coming week. How is it then? It’s an interesting, though time consuming game; I guess this match will take at least 4 hours or so. All the time-outs are really annoying, because it could’ve shortened my stay here (and I’m starving!) with 2/3 of the expected time. The score is currently 2-2 I believe, and it’s Cuba’s turn to hit & run (apologies for not knowing the correct terms). I’ll get back to you if something extraordinary happens.”

“It’s 10:35 pm and the score is 2-3 (Pan-Cuba). It’s Cuba’s F. Cepeda with an average of .333 at bat. As you get more into the game it actually gets exciting! Two and a half rounds left and anything can happen! I can’t believe it! The score is 2-4, Cepeda just did a homerun!"

The final score was 4-2 to Cuba, and in the 9th round Cuba became world champions all over again. Now, I celebrated all night, but the Cubans didn’t and that really made me curious. When I heard the reason I was abashed. They are so used to winning the world cup, being the best baseball players in the world and all is not so exciting when you’ve done it over and over again.

Anyway, it was a great experience, and when I got into the game it was really entertaining. Every homerun made everyone jump and shout. The ceremony afterwards was cool too, including the fact that all of the Panama-team ran out into the field to kick ass on this Cuban player at second base for some reason.

When they’d calmed things down, the Cubans came out with the Cuban flag, and a great white banner to show to the world: " NO AL BLOQUE!"

Sigge Amdal is a writer from Oslo, Norway. He spent the last few months studying philosophy in Havana, Cuba.

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