Saturday, May 11, 2013

Passion Over Glory

By Kelly Montgomery, Havana

Saturday, May 11-Day 1

I didn’t exactly know what to expect going to a baseball game in Havana, so I wasn’t surprised to see a rather run-down stadium with little “concession” stands, if you can even call them that. I was, however, surprised at how many people were actually in attendance given the size of the stadium.

 There were definitely more men than women, but it was still a surprisingly fair ratio. There were many children, running around with noisemakers eating folded-pizza that resembling a taco. Julio, our tour guide for the week, said that’s how everyone eats pizza in Cuba. I made the fatal mistake of going to the bathroom. A larger Cuban woman from down the hall screamed at me when I tried to go in without paying her for toilet paper. I gave her 10c and she gave me three squares. I’m just going to go ahead and assume this was not a very equal trade. I went around the corner to find what I can only assume used to be white stalls covered in some sort of brown filth with six stalls, all of which had no doors, only to discover that none of the toilets had seats. I warned the group not to venture in, no matter how badly they had to go. I sat and analyzed the foreignness—the game, my surroundings---and I wondered how much the Havana baseball players got paid. I thought that surely they got paid more than the average citizen, only to  find out they were paid the same amount as a normal Cuban citizen. This averages to about 19CUC a month. In 2012, major league baseball players in the U.S. made an average of $3,440,000, according to CBSSports. It’s no surprise that given the opportunity, these baseball players jump playing in any competitive league where the (generous) pay is based on talent, not residency.

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