Posted by: elsalamigrande | February 3, 2010

Finally, Some Baseball!

The daytime opener of the series went yesterday afternoon with the Puerto Rican side dropping a close one, 2-1 to the Dominican Republic. It was a hot one, so we sat it out back at the hotel. By the way the stands looked on TV, everyone else had the same idea.

When we arrived for the 8pm game between Mexico and Venezuela it couldn’t have been more packed. This was the official opener, and it came complete with a fireworks display, opening ceremonies and inflated ticket prices. Anyone who fancies themselves a negotiator should have a whirl with Venezuelan baseball scalpers. These guys (and girls) crowded around waving tickets and shouting prices as soon as they got a whiff of the fact that we wanted to go to the game. In the end, we paid about 400 BV for two good seats right on the first base line. According to an online ticket broker, that was a pretty good deal. Tonight, I’m making them all line up single file, writing down their offers and making an informed decision.  The trading floor method is more stress that I need to go to a ballgame.

But what a ballgame! Mexico went up early and never looked back. The Leones trotted Texas Rangers Farmhand Guillermo Moscoso out there. He settled down for a while after giving up two runs in the 1st, but it wasn’t long before his junk started hanging and Mexico teed off, silencing the hometown Venezuelan crowd. The Mexican fans made up for it though. They were out in droves, painted up in red, white and green and sporting noisemaking artillery that probably requires a license in many jurisdictions. Snare drums and megaphones were the leads, but the most popular apparatus was a giant version of the party favor that makes a clacking noise when spun. These things were three feet tall, another three feet across and required strength and endurance to operate. The Mexican squad consistently gave these people excuses to unload on the noise front, most memorably with two laser sharp throws from left field for outs at the plate, and a 7th inning no-doubt homer to left field.

Down 5 runs in the 6th with 2 away and the bases loaded, the Venezuelan crowd got back into it, chanting an Obamian “Si Se Puedes! Si Se Puedes!”. Mexico walked one in to make it 6-2, and the RH starter got the hook.  The reliever got the ground ball out, and that was the last we heard of the hometown crowd.

The Mexicans embarrassed what I understand was supposed to be a much stronger Venezuelan squad. Mexico plays the Dominican Republic in today’s day game. If they can turn out another strong performance, they’re automatically the team to beat.

Venezuelan beer vendors run tabs. I can’t believe that nobody has thought of this yet in Canada or the States. No messy fumbling with money and change while the game is going on. As soon as one was empty, our man had another one ready. I lost track of how many, but it was 100BVF for the two of us to drink for 9 innings. That might buy 2 beer at a MLB park.  I plan a full post on the ballpark food once I’ve tried everything that looks like it’s worth it, so stay tuned.

Cloudy today, so the Mexico-DR day game might be in order. Otherwise, we’ll hit the night game: Venezuela at Puerto Rico.


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