Baseball Fever, Granadino Style — Catch it!!
Mark Says: It may be January but baseball mania is alive and well in Granada!
While the eyes of sports fans in the U.S. were all fixed on the NFL playoffs on Sunday, Valerie and I experienced first hand, the frenzy of Nicaragua’s national sport.
Early in the afternoon, I, like many fellow U.S. citizens was caught up in the exciting N.F.L. game between Atlanta and San Francisco. Watching the Spanish language broadcast on television added additional flair to the contest.
Following the 49ers comeback victory I decided to take a walk to the supermarket for some essentials. Feeling a bit adventurous, I decided to take a new route to the store so, map in hand, I set out on my mile long excursion.
As I approached the main avenue that is home to the two main supermarkets, in the area, I saw beaming stadium lights in the distance. Unexpectedly, my path was taking me towards Granada’s baseball stadium and, as I drew nearer, I could hear the faint sound of horns, possibly vuvuzelas, echoing in the distance.
At the main avenue, instead of proceeding towards the stadium, I made a right hand turn and headed away from the ballpark towards the supermarket. As I proceeded along my route I took note of what seemed like relatively quiet streets for a late Sunday afternoon.
It was then that I recalled being told late last week that Granada’s baseball team was in a hard fought playoff series against Managua. I immediately imagined a packed stadium with rabid fans cheering on their local heroes.
Following the completion of my shopping I decided to take my normal route home through several neighborhoods. As I turned off of the main avenue, and onto a side street, I quickly caught the unmistakable audio of baseball broadcasts.
Proceeding past the colorful homes I caught glimpses, through open doors, of generations of Granadinos gathered around televisions and radios. Residents of all ages seemed to be holding their breath with each pitch as evidenced by the ooohs and ahhhs that reverberated out of the houses and into the nearly deserted streets.
Continuing my journey home I reflected on one of my favorite baseball memories which occurred in my pre-teens along with my oldest brother. While we were visiting some of my dad’s family in Hartford, Ct., the Philadelphia Phillies were on a West Coast trip and, despite the Phillies being mired in last place, we were determined to listen to the broadcast of the game.
So, there we were, in the attic of a large Victorian home over 200 miles away from Philadelphia constantly adjusting the positioning of a small transistor radio in order to catch each pitch.
My recollection is that we listened into the early morning hours until the game was over. I have no idea if the Phillies won or lost that game but the memory of that experience will be with me forever.
Likewise, the memories of Sunday evening in Granada have made an indelible image in my mind. I returned home with the groceries in tow. Once there, Valerie was waiting and we quickly prepared to head into town for dinner.
Unbeknownst to me, our experience with the playoff baseball craze in Granada was just beginning. More on that in my next Blog.