Baseball in BA!

Baseball in BA 540 Normally, baseball people think of “BA” as Batting Average.  From now on, though, we’ll think of it as Buenos Aires!  We played ball today with two great teams in the capital of Argentina, and had an outstanding time.  Our point of contact was Jorge Marcelo Ramia, who heads Little League Baseball for Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay.  He and a wonderful woman named Lucia Garcia Labat pulled together the get together, and did a great job of setting everything up.  Not only did we have two teams, a field, and a light lunch, but we ended up with some great surprises at the end of the game.

 

Baseball in BA 618 The two teams that played were the Nichia Gakvin team (a team from an interesting school here that focuses on Japanese culture) and the Club Independiente.  The players ranged in age from eight years old to fourteen, and included both boys (mostly) and girls.  The clouds threatened rain at one point during the morning (we started at 10:00 a.m.), but cleared to give us a beautiful day.  We couldn’t play on their normal field, which is in the same park as the tennis stadium that was the site of the Argentina-England Davis Cup match that same day.  But we managed to turn a nice soccer field into a decent baseball venue.

Baseball in BA 491The game got off to an exciting start as Nichia’s first batter hit the very first pitch over everyone’s head for a four bagger.  It was clear these kids understood the game.  Things settled down after that, and we ended up playing a five inning action-packed game.  They were kind enough to let Gibson pitch the last two innings.  He hasn’t pitched in a game since an inning in New Zealand in November, so I was hoping he wouldn’t plunk one of their batters with a hard inside pitch!  But he pitched really well, including striking out the side in the last inning.  His team, though, got the short end of the bat, in a game that no one seemed to care about the score, and everyone seemed to care about having fun. 

Baseball in BA 629 We’ve found over and over that these programs really take off once there are some expert, enthusiastic coaches (entrenadors, in Espanol), and the BA program had such coaches.   Marcelo, our host, has a complete passion for the game, even though he only began playing five years ago.  And Coach Walter was terrific with the kids, and gave Gibson some great advice.  The Nichia coach was also very on top of things. Baseball in BA 532 Argentina has a number of very good younger players, but my bet is that their baseball program takes off as soon as one makes it into the major leagues (a la Manu Ginobili in the NBA).  It’s a very athletic country, with world-class athletes in many sports, and baseball may be next in line.

Baseball in BA 555 At the end of the game, Marcelo was incredibly kind.  He presented several of us with framed certificates of thanks for helping their program (including the team’s coach Walter, in red shirt at right).  Mine will have a special place on my desk (assuming at some future point I have a desk again!).  And he gave Gibson, Sterling, and me hats.  We presented each of the players with Red Sox hats (ones commemorating their 2004 epic World Series win over the St. Louis Cardinals). 

Baseball in BA 657 We had an unexpected surprise set of visitors at our game.  Justice B. Hill (left, between two brothers on the team), a senior writer for MLB.com, came to learn about baseball in Argentina and about our little Baseball Ambassadors program.  And he was joined by Bob Payne of the Seattle Times (below).   Both were really interesting people, and it was great to get to know them.  Justice was in Argentina for four weeks attendingBaseball in BA 464 an intensive course on Spanish, and Bob comes to Argentina  every winter for a couple of weeks to take a break from Seattle’s cold and rain in the winter.  These gentlemen know their baseball inside out, and really added a lot to our experience here.  And watch for a story on the day in MLB.com!

For more on baseball in BA, check out our photos!

4 Responses to “Baseball in BA!”

  1. Thierry Says:

    Congratulations for your baseball trip. I left a message on your MLB blog after reading Justice B. Hill’s article on MLB.com. I live in France, and I play in a small baseball team in the country. It is very difficult to developp this sport in a country that loves soccer.
    Good luck for your world trip. Maybe we will see you in France !

  2. Daniel LaBoy Says:

    Is there a possibility since your in South America, that Cali Colombia would be an option. I’m originally from Hartford Ct (love and worked for the bosox back in 2001) and have been spending time with local leagues to assist on getting back the momentum baseball had in years prior. I serve as an Advisor to the “Liga Vallecaucana De Beisbol” (Cali) affiliated with the Federacion Colombiana de Beisbol and would be open to any suggestion

  3. Justice Says:

    http://ted.dintersmith.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/baseball-in-ba-629.jpg

    Ted, can MLB.com use this photo on its Web site this next week? We’re going to finally run my package of stories about baseball in Argentina, and I wanted to use one of the photos you shot during your trip to Buenos Aires. Is that OK?

    Oh, I’m really enjoying your adventures. This is something I know Sterling and Gibson won’t ever forget.

    Justice B.

  4. Myspace Proxies Says:

    Excellent articles and great blog, i shared it with my Digg friends on New York , Stumble UP ! , Cheers Andy Colleman – Chicago

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