I got this e-mail a few weeks ago…
So I went to see the cubans yesterday, and I got to say I was amazed.
There were about 30 people there, some had shoes but most played bare foot, they had a bat, about 5-6 gloves, and one ball.
They used rocks as bases, and each time the ball got hit out of the fences the game had to stop till they find the ball, oh and also when they hit the ball out of the ball park ( A soccer field!). These guys can play baseball that’s for sure!
We got to get these guys some equipment, the most important thing is catchers equipment and batting helmets, so they can start playing seriously and not lob the ball in.. they said they had some real good pitchers but until they get equipment they can’t really practice.
Today I am going to get these guys a couple of gloves, bats, balls and bases from what Peter sent out to me and from my kids team , but it certainly is not enough.
See what you can do about the catchers equipment, helmets, and more balls can also be great, they also need a lefty glove.
It would be a shame to miss these guys, they are really good and really wan’t to take part in the league.
What is this I am seeing? Bare foot? Rocks for bases? One ball? Sharing gloves? Cubans?
There is only one man qualified to handle this, that’s right, Ladies and Geetles, it is I, the King of All Jewish Baseball. So I packed my things, that is to say, 6 life-sized gold statues of myself, and ascended on my Hertz Rental Chariot of Fire deep into the desert, to Be’er Sheva, where the Cubans play, to see for myself these bare footed men.
Be’er Sheva is in the south of Israel, about an hour from Tel Aviv. Half-way there, the landscape changes from Earthly to Martian, small trees become no trees, many roads become one road. It is not a place you would expect to find baseball, or Cubans. But, alas, like the One Eyed Horse Lion, it exists, and it is beautiful.
Despite your mind being much weaker than mine, you may be asking yourself the same thing as me. What are a bunch of Cubans doing playing baseball in the middle of the desert in Israel? The answer… they had no choice.
The Cubans have been relocated to Be’ersheva by the Jewish Agency, an organization that specializes in moving Jews to Israel, me included. The Jewish Agency owns housing complex in Be’er Sheva where the Cuban players live.
I had been in touch with Marcos, the only one in the group who speaks English.
I met Marco in the parking lot of the Supermarket in Be’er Sheva. Players started arriving. All had shoes, so far. We took ground balls in the parking lot for a half-hour, then got in cars to go to the field. We threw down bases on the soccer field, actual bases, sort of, orange rubber bases, better than rocks at least. We did what can be done anywhere, easily, we made a baseball field, something from nothing, structure in all that open space, and we played baseball.
The e-mail was not all accurate, and not all inaccurate. Most of the guys had shoes, though some did not. I had brought 3 baseballs, so we had more than 1. We shared gloves. There was a version of catchers equipment though no one used it. There were no walks. There were strikeouts. The pitcher threw from varying distances. Like I had been warned, when a ball was hit foul over the fence, the game stopped, and one guy, the designated retriever, who was pissed off but still proud of his job, went to find it, and the game resumed. We played 3 innings before I had to go. I said I would return with more baseballs and more bats and more gloves.
They were not very good. But who cared? They did not. They– nay, we were just playing ball, In Havanna, or Be’er Sheva, or Mars, or wherever we were.
My reply to the e-mail…
Awesome. I want to go.
The Cubans, and me.