Wednesday Night Béisbol
I am so excited it’s finally baseball season here in Mexico. I had heard reports about the games from others who had gone last year, and I thought it sounded like the perfect way to spend a long almost-summer evening here in Oaxaca. I will admit right up front that I have only ever been to one other professional game – I think it was the Yankees (I can’t remember) so I will not sell myself as an expert here. The local team is Guerreros de Oaxaca (Oaxaca Warriors) and they are rated a AAA minor league team for someone who knows what that actually means.
On Wednesday night In the two hours prior to the game commencing, a thunderstorm had let loose over the city (so much so that my house started leaking) and looking out my door I could see the rain violently ricocheting off the pavement to about knee-height.
Regardless, in the respite, I walked with fingers crossed up to the Eduardo Vasconcelos baseball stadium to meet my friends a little before game start at 7pm.
Our options for tickets, bought from the ticket booth 10 mins before the game commenced, were 100 pesos for “down” or 25 pesos for ”up”. Not knowing which was better, we got the cheaper option and discovered we had our pick of any seat right above home plate. The 100 peso option was for covered seats right next to the players’ boxes (dugout?) so seriously, I don’t know how you could go wrong. Even if, like us, you had no idea what you were doing. The stadium seats 7,500 people, but there were probably only about 300 spectators present, 350 if you counted all the roving food vendors.
We settled into our plastic scoop seats and right on the dot of 7pm the fielding team headed out to the turf and into position. After reading the team shirts, we figured out the Guerreros in white pinstripes (like the Yankees?) were playing the Vaqueros Laguna (Laguna Cowboys) from Coahuila, in grey and orange. Mental note: figure out the opposing team before sitting down.
The actual baseball game was good to watch – both teams were evenly matched, and aside from the couple of times we applauded for the wrong side, we managed to consolidate ourselves as local fans, and get a general handle on what was going on.
As I have discovered is normal at events in Mexico, and usual for ballgames, vendors bounced up and down the stands all night offering all types of different foods and drinks; steaming hot coffee in polystyrene cups, freshly made tacos, nachos, plastic tubes of pistachios, potato chips, enchiladas with fresh onion and salsa, individual serve Domino’s pizza and seat-service Michelob beer. You could pretty much watch the parade of people around your seat and still have an entertaining evening.
After all that rain, it was cold (OK, Mexico cold – there was a slight breeze) in the seating, so if you are going, take a sweatshirt, and maybe an umbrella in case the now-seasonal thunderstorms continue. We were determined to hang in until we saw the cheerleaders in action. They had passed our seats earlier with an entourage of teenage boys trailing along behind them as they toured the stands hugging supporters and posing for photos. I am not too sure who picked their outfit, or whether it changes each week, but last night the Guerreritas were in leotards 3 sizes too small and which resembled Borat’s mankini for all the skin it covered, silver lamé bikini tops, and battery-powered Minnie Mouse type headbands in red polka dot which actually flashed on and off like patrol cars all night.
I had been told warned?) about the cheerleaders ahead of time, but they were still better than I had imagined. They danced (cheered?) on the field for about a minute during innings in a choreographed routine that was high on enthusiasm, and included (I am pretty sure) crotch-slapping. In fact I think my friend and I danced something just as fabulous when we were 11 based on music video choreography (ok, we also included forward rolls in our routine, which the Guerreritas missed). Still, the crowd roared enthusiastically, as they disappeared back into the dugout – possibly to choreograph their next routine which would take place later that night.
All in all, it was a great evening, and I am definitely planning to go again. I might even get my own Guerreros baseball cap for the next time. They sell ones for chicas in bright pink.