Baseball In Lima!

Baseball in Lima 154 Under crystal clear blue skies in dry Lima, Peru, we played baseball today with a great group of kids and coaches.  Baseball isn’t a popular sport in Peru, at least not yet, but these coaches were enthusiastic, and doing a great job with some really terrific kids from Callao, Peru.  Their program includes kids from 9 through 15, and they have a couple of respectable fields to play on.  During their summer, they practice six times a week, but during the school year they are only able to practice once a week.

Baseball in Lima 159 Callao is a town located about 15 kilometers (or 9 miles) from the practice fields.  That may not sound like that big an issue, but for these kids, it’s a huge challenge.  Callao is a very poor suburb of Lima, and these kids often don’t have the money to cover bus tickets to/from practice, or even enough for lunch money.  The coaches help out, and they’ve gotten some donated equipment, but this was the perfect baseball program for us to be helping.

Baseball in Lima 175 We were able to set up the visit through the National Federation of Baseball in Peru, led by Karel Asseff.  They have a small office and an initiative that now has several thousand kids in Peru playing baseball.  We played on a Friday morning, but January is the “summer vacation” for the Peru schools, and during their summer these kids practice regularly.

Baseball in Lima 171 We started the practice by playing an exhibition game of about four innings.  For 12 and under kids, they use a hard rubber ball instead of a standard baseball, which took some getting used to.  The coaches would pitch to the players, and they exercised some judgment as to how many outs to allow each side.  The kids got in a ton of baseball in the time they were playing, and everyone had a blast.

Baseball in Lima 039 We then stopped for a soft drink and a sandwich, and got a chance to talk to the players and coaches.  I speak a bit of Spanish, so I could talk directly to these kids, and they were so nice and polite.  It was very exciting to see their enthusiasm for baseball.  They gave Gibson and me their Peru team baseball hats and shirts, which we will always treasure.  Gibson got uniform #1, and we suspect that one of the kids volunteered to give up that number for someone visiting from the U.S.  And all of the coaches (including head coach Jose Herrera, in the center of the picture up to the left)autographed a ball for us as well, which will have a prime spot on our shelf of great autographed baseballs back in the states.

Baseball in Lima 043 We talked to the group a little bit about our trip, and gave them all Red Sox hats.  We also talked about the Red Sox commitment to players from Latin America.  Most of the kids seemed very aware of the Red Sox and their recent World Series win (!!!!).  We had no problem getting the one boy with a Yankees hat to switch over!  And they all asked Gibson and me to autograph the hats, which made me feel a bit like a baseball rock star (well, that’s probably stretching it a bit, but . . .)

Baseball in Lima 056 We then went back on the field and did about 45 minutes of drills, mainly fielding drills.  The boys seemed like they could easily play for the entire day, and were obviously having a great time among themselves, helped by a very informative and enthusiastic coach.  Toward the end, I took over and hit them some long fly balls, which I think gave me more of a workout than it did the kids!

Baseball in Lima 048 As a follow up, we’ll be providing this team with a complete set of baseball gloves, bats, balls, bases, and catcher’s gear.  Given how appreciative they were of the hats (and they look terrific in them!), I’m sure they’ll make excellent use of this equipment.  Right now, they get most of their equipment from hand-me-downs from a local Japanese team, and the coach said none of the players or their families could even afford shoes.  It was just exciting to see these kids developing a real love of baseball, helped by good coaches, and we were thrilled to be a part of it, even for just a morning!

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Feel free to check out our photos from this excellent baseball morning!

5 Responses to “Baseball In Lima!”

  1. Roberto Manuel Says:

    i’m from Lima peru and i play baseball since i was 6 years old, now i’m 16.
    could be great if we talk more about oun cultures. you should come back and i’ll be there
    it’s nice to mmet you

  2. Troy Williams Says:

    Ted,

    I was really amazed to stumble upon your website!! It is amazing to see all that you have done on your travels!

    I am a scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates and have been traveling around the world as a professional baseball player, coach, and scout for nearly 20 years. To make a long story short, I am planning on visiting Peru and wanted to make some contacts within the baseball community there. I am hoping to have the opportunity to help with clinics and to donate some equipment. I have several friends in the country; however, none of them are familiar with the baseball federation or any of the clubs. Do you know who I can contact? I appreciate your interest in baseball and service to this great game.

    Sincerely,
    Troy Williams

  3. bestuurbaar Says:

    cute kids, sport can instill some of the greatest core values in a society.

  4. Tony-Hat Coach Says:

    I came upon this searching for something else but I happy I did, what an inspirational story. Really, kids and baseball, what can be more of an example of pure fun. This one pulls on the hearstrings!

  5. Tameka Bak Says:

    I stumbled across your blog today and am looking forward to reading the past posts!
    This post resonated so loudly with me

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