Will this (baseball) season never end?? :)

Valerie came up with the title. Ha. The post is Mark’s.

Over the past 18 months a constant refrain from the varied and sometimes extraordinary people we have met has been “it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey”. Being the skeptic that I am, I usually take their input with a grain of salt.

However, the journey that Valerie and I have undertaken to try and secure baseball tickets in Granada does say a lot about Central American culture. When I last blogged for all of you baseball fans out there, the local Granada team was headed to Nicaragua’s version of the World Series.

Unfortunately, the Orientales were demolished in the first game of the series by the Chenendaga Tigers by a score of 10 to 2 at their opponents’ stadium.

Undaunted, Valerie and I agreed to try and get tickets for last Tuesday night’s game two here in Granada. But, there certainly does not seem to be anything close to Ticketron, Ticketmaster or even Stub Hub here in Nicaragua. Our attempts to find any information in the newspapers, or on the Orientales Web Page, were also fruitless.

So, we decided to just head out to the stadium on Tuesday afternoon and see what we could find out. Upon arriving, we thought we were in business when we noticed two ticket windows with relatively short lines.  Upon further examination, it was clear, however, that the windows were not manned.  Utilizing her constantly improving Spanish, Valerie inquired what was going on with a few other patrons as well as a security guard standing nearby.

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Getting the scoop

Several versions of the story seemed to be floating around but from what we could tell the ticket windows were to open at 2:00.  By this time it was almost 12:45 so we decided to wait it out in line.  This was despite a total lack of preparation for standing in an open parking lot with no shade.  We, for some reason, did not plan on such a long wait in scorching Central American sun in the middle of the afternoon.

While in line we became engaged in conversation with a young Nicaraguan born man, who had left the country for Southern California as a youth.  He was visiting his homeland for a week or so and decided to take in a game with his cousin.  He was a very engaging and personable, man despite being a Raiders and Dodgers fan.  Talking with him was a pleasant way to pass the time.

Just as I was starting to feel confident that I could make it until 2:00 without dropping from heat exhaustion a new rumor started to flow through the crowd.  Evidently, the ticket windows were actually supposed to have opened at 12:30 but no one knew where the tickets were.  The man that was supposed to bring them to the stadium had not arrived and no one seemed to know where he was.

After a lot of buzz throughout the crowd, the latest update quickly became that the tickets would be available at 3:00.  With no sunscreen, or any way to shade ourselves from the sun, Valerie and I decided that going to this game was not to be and we bid adios to our new acquaintances.

That evening, we watched some of the game on television.  Despite a better performance than in Game 1, the Orientales went down by a score of 6 to 3.  They were now down 2 to 0 in the series which was headed back to Chinendaga.

Game 3 went into extra innings but the Tigers were again victorious and took a seemingly insurmountable 3 to 0 lead in the series.  Game 4 was back in Granada but Valerie and I had other plans or were we, as fair weather fans, just not that interested in again trying to get tickets?

Well, we and many other Orientales supporters may have given up but the team did not.  They at least saved face, by avoiding a sweep, when they squeaked out an extra inning victory to send the game back to Chenendaga for Game 5.

While out on the town Sunday evening it quickly looked like it was not going to be the Orientales night when they fell behind.  As Valerie and I headed for home the score was 8 to 3 going into the top of the ninth and the Chinendaga fans were in full party mode!

Still feeling some sense of curiosity, I turned on the game when we walked into the house.  Showing true Granadino spirit, darn if those Orientales still didn’t have some fight left.  Fortuitously, the first batter had reached based on a strikeout wild pitch.  The next four batters singled scoring two runs and loading the bases.  When the next two batters were retired easily, with no advancement, the end seemed imminent and the roar of Tigers fans became even more deafening.   However,Oreintales right fielder Danila Sotelo silenced the pandemonium of the Tiger’s faithful by hitting a grand slam over the left field fence to give Granada a 9 to 8 lead.

In the bottom of the ninth Chenendaga tried to rally but fell short leaving two men on base.  The Orientales had lived to play another day and the television cameras panned the crowd showing shocked faces which moments earlier had beamed with jubilance.   When the screen picked up one group of young women with their faces painted like Tigers, Valerie, somewhat reminiscent of my mother, expressed a sense of sadness at their disappointment.

With renewed interest in the series, and Valerie engaged in other activities, I headed off today and easily secured tickets for tonight’s game.  The ticket man had arrived on time, the crowd was orderly and we are off to see game 6 right now.

Will the destination be more exciting than the journey?  Stay tuned?

Our destination -- El estadio Flor de Cana

Our destination — El estadio Flor de Cana

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