Total distance travelled: 37,688.4 kilometres (23,408.94 miles)
If you’ve read our travel tales for some time now, you may already be aware that we’re fans of baseball.
Well to Nicaraguans, baseball (or beisbol as it is here) it often appears, is to them, THE only sport there is.
As such, we were pretty keen to get ourselves along to a game, so this took us out to Masaya, the town so very near the volcano of the same name.
Here we hoped we’d get to experience the passion and energy for a real Nicaraguan love, that sport that we’d already seen so many children indulge in across parks in streets all across the country.
Arriving in Masaya during the heat of the day may not have been ideal, but it did however give us an opportunity to do a bit of reconnaissance in regards to where the stadium sat in regards to our lodging for the night, not to mention some lunch!
An uninspiring and overpriced lunch of tacos followed, but past that initial disappointment we were pleasantly surprised to discover that the home team for tonight (we were in Masaya, however the home team is San Fernando) would be sporting both the same logo and colours as our MLB team, the San Francisco Giants!
This made the decision of who to support a no brainer (although we’d likely have supported the home team anyway), and it was only 3 or 4 hours later that we found ourselves headed back towards the ballpark for the game proper.
We did give ourselves time enough to soak up the beautiful sunset that the clouded sky offered us, making the already attractive Lake Masaya even more stunning…
Unsure of how difficult tickets would be to procure, we made sure our arrival was early, although we were not certain whether the particular short queue on our arrival (only one person was in front of us) was reflective on the ticket prices for the area we were headed being over-priced, or if the crowd was likely to be small.
It turns out, the latter was the case, and by the time of the opening pitch, there was certainly plenty of space, all around the stadium.
With a little relief, the crowd did slowly grow, as although this is only a 4 team competition, it is nevertheless, Nicaragua’s national baseball competition.
As such, given its prevalence as a national sport, we were expectant of a decent, competitive match.
Sadly, cheer as loudly as we dared try, it wasn’t long before things were looking bleak for the home side.
True, things were tight early, with innings 1 and 2 finishing scoreless.
6 runs to nil at the top of the 3rd to the visiting Boers however blew the game wide open, and we quickly learned how shallow the depth of the San Fernando pitching stocks really were.
By the bottom of the 5th inning, and 3 pitchers later, things were looking bleak indeed for our home side…
Not surprisingly, many of the few home fans in attendance decided pretty early on that they’d had enough, whilst for this to be the Nicaraguan top league, the standard was very disappointing in general.
6 batters were struck by pitchers from both teams… about 80% of all pitches were balls, with many of those being in the dirt, and we could probably count the total number of strike-outs for the game on less than 5 fingers.
But incredibly, somehow, as the pitchers got worse, the runs dried up for the visiting team, and before we could figure out this crazy anomaly, the home team slowly began to eat into what was a mammoth 12 run lead.
It was by no means pretty, and there were very few people few left in the stadium to witness it, but somehow the Boers were held scoreless for the last 4 innings, despite an abundance of walks seeing a plethora of batters get on base.
It was a valiant, ugly attempt at a comeback, but 5 additional runs was the best the home side could rustle up, somehow staving off total embarrassment to see a 14-7 scoreline come the end of the game.
* Entrance to the Baseball at Masaya’s Estadio Roberto Clemente was $40.00 Cordoba per person (there is one level of ticket higher, with cheaper seats in the outfield).
* Masaya is conveniently located between Managua and Granada, meaning that getting here from either city is no problem via local bus (for around $20.00 Cordoba per person).