Monday, July 18, 2016

Baseball Blog ::: Team Newington 2, Team Cuba 7 [07.16.16]

Some links:

Photos can be found as a slideshow on the main site and then ultimately on the Raised by Baseball sub-site.

There was a tweet that The Greater Hartford Twilight Baseball League retweeted about this game and that was actually what got me interested in this game in the first place.   So, we went to see two new leagues of baseball in Connecticut at two places we'd never seen baseball before this weekend but both of them were a result of the GHTBL in some way (Directly on Friday and by retweet on Saturday)   This was the first time something like this happened in Connecticut- with a youth baseball team from Cuba being brought in to play against local CT teams and it's just been receiving a lot of press around here as the team went from Fenway to the Mark Twain House and even ESPN.

The fun thing about this game- which made it different from most other games we've been to this season- is that it had an 11 am start time.   Usually, we spend our time out on Saturday before going to a night game and so for this Saturday we'd do that in reverse-- baseball and then go out shopping to get both things we needed and look for toys.   As with the GHTBL game the night before, this game was rather casual as it was free to attend and there was nothing official given out in terms of a scorecard or program.   They had t-shirts and hats for sale, but then there were also bracelets for free which we got because as I came to the conclusion I already have a lot of hats and way too many t-shirts.

Seeing kids play baseball is always exciting because they just bring something different to the game at that level (And these kids were on average probably around thirteen years old) but the fact that this was an international game made me wonder why more people didn't come out for it.    There was a good crowd- don't get me wrong- but it felt like a lot of people were either family or friends of family and that sort of idea.   I'm not sure who was there aside from us as just fans of baseball and trying to take in the idea that this was not necessarily a "once in a lifetime" event but definitely history making and for fans of the game.  (Maybe less than 20% of the crowd was there for love of the game.  I was expecting a much larger crowd, but I love baseball more than others I suppose)

Both of these teams played really well and there was a lot of fanfare both before and during the game because of the different countries.    The Cuban dugout seemed to be making the most noise, as it was noted that in Cuba baseball comes with a lot of noise and it was hard not to just be taken in by how lively it is and how much they seem to like it.     Though it might never happen, Cuba is now my second most wanted place to go see baseball outside of the United States.

It was hard to take pictures at the game- which I found out right away- because of the fence, so sometimes the focus was on the metal and not the players, but I did my best and took a few photos.    The heat was also on in the sense that I got burned by the sun and didn't even realize it could happen that early in the day.    Quentin and I walked around the entire field at one point and that allowed me to take pictures from almost every angle, which was fun.    Team Cuba was down at first but a home run put them up and up was where they stayed.

When we walked around the field we found three baseballs- two likely not from the game and one definitely was the home run ball which gave Cuba the lead and ultimately the win.    Other kids and fans were giving the baseballs back, as they tend to do, but that was a nice souvenir for us again.    Perhaps if they do this again next year they can put the Goodwill Tour logo on a baseball and sell it and then I won't feel so badly about keeping the home run ball.

Another reason why you just never know what's going to happen in baseball is because Bill "Spaceman" Lee- a legendary pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and Montreal Expos- was on hand to take a few swings of the bat on the field, but also off the field I saw him coach some kids who were playing catch and it was just nice to see his hands on approach and how approachable he was.    He is the subject of a documentary which I will now be watching sooner than later and he was nice enough to take a photo with Quentin which is a memory I'm sure Quentin will appreciate even more when he is older.

There is a lot of baseball to be watched in Connecticut on any given weekend in the summer.   It's not a matter of whether or not you're going to see it so much as which game you're going to see.   From leagues like the FCBL and GHTBL who I hope to see more of next season to the NECBL and Atlantic League who I hope to see more of next season as well, the thing is this is just one of those once-a-season type of games that isn't about seeing something like this again (Though I'd do it all again next year) but just the fact that you saw this and were a part of baseball history makes it that monumental.

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