I was told three different times: 8:00, 8:30 and 9:00 am for the beginning of the “Inauguration Ceremony of Baseball League” in Villa el Carmen.
I think that meant “just show up sometime." It was a very important day as baseball is the most popular sport in Nicaragua.
About The GameMy Gran Pacifica friends, Helio Alfaro and Rafael Chinchilla, both players from the Municipality, explained how baseball in Nicaragua works. There are two leagues; the National and the local Municipalities. They play two seasons per year, January to August and September to December. Local Municipalities “inaugurate“ each season with all the teams from the league, walking up Main Street and entering the ballpark to the applause from the fans,
Baseball is treated as a Sunday tradition in Nicaragua. You will see elderly men and women watching, children playing and climbing trees, the ice cream man ringing his bell, and vendors selling beer. How lovely to be able to go watch a game, eat lunch, and have a beer for $5.00. Then, of course, an ice cream sundae is a must for only $.50.
It was amazing to be able to sit so close to the action and visit with the players.
When there is a close call by the umpire, the crowd always goes crazy. Everybody has a comment, and they express them very loudly. Sometimes, tempers flare up and players must break up a little skirmishes between themselves.
The U.S. Major League Baseball knows full well how good the players are in Nicaragua. They recruit during “tryouts” all over the country, paying for a training camp and education in Managua. Dennis Martinez, the Nicaraguan National Baseball Stadium’s namesake, was the first Nicaraguan to play in the MLB (1976-1998). He held the title for the most wins as a pitcher from Latin America for 20 years (less 2 days), until that record was surpassed on August 7, 2018 by Bartolo Colon of the Dominican Republic.
Helio says it is mostly “thought of as a challenge to play them because the local teams love to play for their communities and for themselves, and don’t worry so much about the equipment or sponsors.”
You will often see Gran Pacifica employees playing baseball on the grounds during their lunch hour. Gotta have game! If you are visiting Nicaragua don’t forget to check out a local baseball game.
If you’d like to visit Gran Pacifica and have the opportunity to watch a game, you can book your reservations here.
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