Let’s talk about baseball

Let’s talk about baseball
Fecha de publicación: 
18 March 2023
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Actually, no one is indifferent to baseball these days in Cuba. The World Baseball Classic (WBC) not only grabs headlines, but also unleashes passion and dreams.

It is not nothing new. We have suffered and enjoyed a lot with our national sports. There are popular sayings that have remained in our minds such as “she is throwing breaking balls at me” if someone is beating around the bush; or “someone is running home” or “someone is playing the hidden ball trick at you.”

How many times have we heard the phrase “it is a pretty close play”? The phrase has merged into routine life naturally…

The rules are so important that it was actually the publication of the first Knickerbockers rules that marked the beginning of modern baseball. From then on, they have been updated and adapted to the different national leagues and along the way, we find some crazy rules such as the one existing until 1887, where hitters asked pitchers for the kind of pitch they wanted.

Baseball in nine movies

We have seen a lot of baseball through cinema. Here I list nine films that recreate this sports.

We begin with "The Rookie," a motivational film that tells us about a high school teacher who manages to reach the Major Leagues.

You can't miss 42, the film that brings us closer to the harsh reality that the first black player in the Major Leagues had to live through.

Eight Men Out narrates one of the darkest episodes in American baseball: When several White Sox athletes sold the 1919 World Series final.

Another one based on a true story is The Game of Fortune, which features Brad Pitt in the leading role.

I have reserved fifth place in this imaginary lineup for Story of a Summer. Just look at the film and with a few clues like a ball signed by Baby Ruth and a dog named The Beast, I'm sure you'll remember this tape for all ages.

Another one in which a group of baseball-playing children makes us shudder is The Perfect Game, which tells the story of the children from Monterrey who were champions of the Little League World Series in the 1950s.

"A Very Special Team" is going to put a certain interesting note on this list, since it's not only about baseball played by women during World War II, but we'll see Madonna in action as part of the cast.

Some mysticism adds to the baseball charms of Field of Dreams: If You Build It, They Will Come is the strange message that sparks the whole story as a farmer decides to build a baseball field in the middle of his cornfield.

And to close, Cuban’s En 3 y 2. A 1985 film directed by Rolando Díaz and verse about the conflicts of a famous baseball player in retirement age. I hope that the next time we talk about baseball, there will be many more Cuban examples.

Snapshots of history

The most remote references to the origin of baseball are located in the ancient civilizations of Persia, Egypt and Greece, from where news of games that were practiced with a stick and a ball come from. The Cuban encyclopedia ECURED assures that this type of activity spread throughout Europe throughout the Middle Ages and was later introduced to America during colonization.

It is in England in 1744 where printed evidence of baseball appeared for the first time and a few decades later, the first allusion to this sport in the new continent was made by an American soldier in his diary. However, the first organized baseball club arose in New York City and was called the Knickerbockers, which means shorts.

In Cuba, the first official game was held in 1874 at the Palmar de Junco Stadium in the city of Matanzas, between a local team and another from Havana. The team from Havana took the victory 51x9. On October 19, 2021, right there in the city of bridges, where it all began, Baseball was declared Cultural Heritage of the Nation.

The Cuban professional league emerged in 1878 and had four teams: Cienfuegos, Almendares, Havana and Marianao. The panorama began to change in 1959 when the nascent Revolution trusted the popularization of the sport and baseball was among the most benefited.

In 1962, it was played the first National Baseball Series. Fidel Castro threw himself the ceremonial first pitch at the Latinoamericano Stadium.

The Cuban national teams won the World Cup twenty-five times, took home three Olympic titles and 10+ Pan American titles, while ending second place in the first edition of the World Baseball Classic. Right now, we are all optimistic and bite our nails at the same time.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

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