Friday, March 27, 2009

Play Ball! Lions and Tigers!

The baseball stadium at the Parque de Kukulcán, home of LOS LEONES DE YUCATÁN.

Wednesday, March 25th was opening day for baseball....or beisbol....season here in México. Our team, the Leones de Yucatán played against the Tigres de Quintana Roo. It was an entertaining game. The Tigre opened the first inning with a run and the Leones followed with five runs! Off to a good start.

The last time I went to an inaugural baseball game was the LA Dodgers in 1979 (I think) where Fernando Valenzuela was the star, and thirty years later I watched his son, Fernando Valenzuela, open the season for the Leones in Mérida. Fernando hit a grand slam in the first inning, but slowed down considerably as the innings wore on. Hey, first time out for the season so I see it as a warm up game. We hope to have a strong season. We have some great players who last won the national championship in 2005. Wednesday The Tigres beat the Leones 10-8, but we put up a good fight.

The stadium reminded me of the days my brother Jay took me to see the Mudhens play in Toledo, Ohio. I don't remember the exact size, but it looked like a similar layout. Above the teams are being introduced. The Leones, whose colors are green, orange and white, on the left, and the Tigres on the right. We didn't catch any foul balls but we had great seats near the first base line.

A few differences I noted: They do not stop selling beer after the 7th inning. What if there are extra innings? A fan needs his beer. I noticed they were selling beer even after the game ended.

They have cheerleaders! For me that was a first at a baseball game. They didn't lead any cheers but they kept the male fans entertained during inning changes with their sexy salsa dances.

Although they have bat boys, they have ball girls. Good looking girls in short shorts and tight tops bounce out to the umpire with new balls every other pitch.

They eat different foods at Mexican ball games. Below is the kibi/piedra salesman. In his glass box he has the Lebanese treats ready to dress up with their repollo. Below him is the pepita, pistacchio and cacahuate (peanut) vendor. The vendors walk around with hot pizza in individual boxes, platters of fresh made tortas (sandwiches) on bolillos, tamales, corn on or off the cob with seasonings, candied apples of some sort, probably tamarind, air puffed chicharrones, cotton candy, frappuchinos, strawberries and cream, something that looked like Chinese stirfry but was actually Mexican nachos, home made potato chips and fried banana chips, candies, gum, cigarettes, etc. Also they walk around the stadium tossing out promotional items. This week I got a new pen and a handful of new cookies made by a local cookie producer. There was a lot going on, the atmosphere was light and happy, the spectators were good sports, and we had a lot of fun.

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