Global Baseball

One man\’s year-long journey through the world of baseball

Field Research

Most of the work in my fellowship involves finding leading figures in the development of baseball in the countries I visit and conducting lengthy interviews. With all of the talking about baseball I engage in on a regular basis, it’s nice to take some time out and just enjoy a game with friends every once in awhile.

Little known fact: Nicaragua runs a semipro league at the same time as the major league baseball season. Most of the players never signed with major league teams, since scouts have only re-entered Nicaragua in force in the past 5-10 years, but the quality of play is surprisingly high.

I’m currently in Granada, a picturesque colonial town on the north bank of Lake Nicaragua. A couple of days ago, I organized a trip with several people staying at my hostel to a Nicaraguan League game between the Tiburones de Granada and the Leones de Leon. We were an eclectic group: 3 Aussies, 1 German, 1 Dutch guy, 3 Canadians, a Californian, and three Pacific Northwesterners.

As we prepared to go to the game, I mentioned as a brief aside to my friend Josh, “how crazy would it be if we could get a bunch of gringps to spell out “Granada” and pump the Nica crowd up? ” Intending the remark facetiously, I failed to take into account the nature of the people I was traveling with. As a general rule, suggest anything to backpackers, and they’ll probably do it.

The result:

:

I’m the guy on the end with the noisemaker. We were low on ink, so it’s tough to make out the G and the R, but we got our point across. The Nicaraguan fans loved us.

The kids at the ballpark in Nicaragua walk around with big burlap bags collecting empty beer cans for recycling money. A group of 5 or 6 of them spotted easy money in a group of gringos at the game to drink and have fun. After we milked the bodypainting fiasco for all the fun we could, I started teaching the kids “American” handshakes.

I asked this kid if he played baseball, and whether he’d want to sign with a major league team. His response: “No. I want to play for Granada.”

May 21, 2007 Posted by | Ballpark Antics | Leave a comment