Day 5: Estadio, Esquina Caliente, and More Baseball

NOTE: This post has been updated to include the photos I was previously unable to upload.

After another unique Cuban breakfast, our bus drove off from the Hotel Bella Habana. We thought we were going to see the Museum of the Revolution, but we were in for a surprise. Our guide and translator, Lester, had arranged for us to visit the Estadio Latinoamericano, the stadium where the Orioles and the Rays played the Cuban National Team. It is the largest and nicest stadium in the entire country, and home to the Havana Industriales during the winter. The stadium had been extensively visited for President Obama’s visit last month. We saw the spot where Obama sat during the historic game, and even had the opportunity to walk onto the playing field. It was a great surprise and an incredible experience!

Our bus picked us up at the stadium and brought us to another exciting place–the capital district. We saw the national capital building and the national theatre, all incredible pieces of architecture. Twenty percent of cars in Cuba are classic American cars, yet in this neighborhood, it was close to 100. They were parked all over the place, and every single car driving by was a shiny, colorful classic. The main reason behind our stop was to visit “La Esquina Caliente” or the Hot Corner. This is an area in the central park where men gather to talk and argue about baseball. The people in the park were not too talkative with us at first, but that all changed very quickly once we started to give them baseball cards. Coach Tom Simon had a lot of fun chatting with them about local Cuban teams.

Our next stop was Playa stadium, where we faced our toughest test yet on the baseball diamond. The team we played was Marianao, and they could hit, pitch, and play some excellent baseball. The final score was 15-5, but a fun game nonetheless. We had another visit from a Cuban baseball star. This time it was Yosvani Aragon, a pitcher for the Gallos de Sancti, who played between 1997 and 2007. He is considered one of the greatest pitchers in Cuban baseball history. Centerfielder Ollie Pudvar lead Team Vermont on both offense and defense. Pudvar caught a fly ball and threw a runner out a home for a double play in the 6th inning, and made a highlight-reel diving catch in center. He reached base four times, collecting three solid hits and a base on balls. Ozzie Kost was also a key part of the American’s defense, making a stellar play at third base.

Tate Agnew contributed two solid innings of pitching, and was relieved by Cyrus Perkinson, who closed out the game on the mound for Vermont. Agnew picked up a handful of strikeouts against some of the best sluggers in the region.

Today’s game maybe have been a challenge, but according to Vermont Coach Jim Carter, it was a victory for friendship and the sport of baseball

“The whole experience for everyone involved is just incredible,” Carter said.

Today’s game may have been a high scoring and challenging affair, and as many of you know, the Vermonters are slated to take on the provincial all-star team tomorrow. The coaching staff has decided to mix the teams to ensure a fun and competitive experience. Five Cuban players and five Americans will join the opposing team. It will be a great experience for the kids to play together.

After another day in the books, our trip will be coming to a close before we know it. I can tell you all that it has been the experience of a lifetime, something I know everyday when I see the faces of the kids on the baseball diamond.

Tomorrow we will play our final game at 10:30 AM and then head to experience the beach for the first time. This will be followed by a final dinner.

I would like to thank all my readers for taking the time to take in my writing and experiences in Cuba. My blog has surpassed 16,000 hits! Please continue to share my blog and help spread the word!

 

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Author: Alexandre Silberman

Alexandre Silberman is a multimedia journalist and a senior at Burlington High School in Burlington, Vermont where he is the editor of his school newspaper. He currently writes for the Burlington Free Press, the state's largest daily newspaper. This past April, Alexandre travelled to Cuba to document the first youth baseball exchange with a U.S. team since the embargo. // Email: asilbermanvt@gmail.com // Follow him on Twitter: @alexsilbermanvt

5 thoughts on “Day 5: Estadio, Esquina Caliente, and More Baseball”

  1. Wow, what a full day!
    Thanks so much for your effort with this Alexandre! We wait all day to read your post. While it’s not as good as being there, it is a glimpse into the experience you are all having and we really appreciate it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you so much for updating us on the day. I look forward to reading your post each night. Sounds like this trip has been an experience of a life time. Keep enjoying yourself.
    Kathie Pudvar

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Looking forward to hearing how the teams play when the Cubans and Americans play side by side. It’s wonderful that your work is getting great exposure. Sen. Leahy retweeted my tweet of your blog a few days ago. Keep up the great work!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Although I would love to see all the pictures, I really enjoyed reading about the game and your day, makes me really wish I was there! Thank you for keeping us updated.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you Alexandre for the marvelous journey, through your eyes, of the Cuban baseball trip. Wishing I was there. I looked forward each evening to your posts and gained such an insight into experiences you were having. Looking forward to welcoming you home.

    Like

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