Page:America's National Game (1911).djvu/410

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

ing it with avidity. As a result of the introduction of Base Ball into our island colonies, many American professionals are finding winter employment, both as coaches and players, while here and there the appearance of a Spanish name on the published score card of games played at home shows that first-class professionals are being developed in the islands.

A correspondent, writing from Havana to a New York paper not long ago, gives the following account of a game he witnessed:

"I have seen some notable games of Base Ball, but never anything that approached a contest in Havana about three years ago for the championship of the Island of Cuba. For two years the Matanzas and Havana Clubs had struggled for the mastery, and this was to be the decisive game. There were 20,000 people on the ball grounds, and when I drove out the clubs had been playing three hours and a half, and had not yet reached the third inning. They had had four umpires and the grounds were lined with police. The excitement of the people was beyond description. Everybody on the grandstand was hoarse from violent screaming, and when the third inning came to a close with a home run on the part of the shortstop of the Havanas, the populace crowded over the balustrade and almost smothered the player with caresses. They began all over again the following day under rigid police rules and the curbing of the excitement wherever it was possible, and the game was brought to a satisfactory close. The Havanese have picked up the slang of the American ball field. It was very odd to hear the incessant jabbering of Spanish interrupted by such phrases as 'home run,' 'foul tip,' 'fair ball,' 'take your base,' etc. The excitement of the players was no less intense than that of the spectators, but despite all the frenzy which characterized the game it was noticeable that the Cubans played mighty good ball."

Ever since the occupation of Cuba, at the beginning of the war with Spain, the natives have exhibited an ever-increasing interest in the sport. At Havana league games frequently attract crowds of ten thousand spectators. The players in the big Cuban league are very skillful,