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A baseball bat and ball is one of the most treasured gifts boys can receive for Christmas or his birthday. And if the gift is a baseball glove, then it’s like putting them on cloud nine. What kid in Cuba hasn’t spent the afternoons trying to hit a homerun and dreaming of becoming a famous baseball player? Baseball heroes Omar Linares, Orestes Kindelán, Victor Mesa and Lourdes Gurriel, among so many others, have shown them that anything is possible.
Their parents are as enthusiastic about baseball as their children and take their kids to train at the nearest sports center hoping that they will become one of the greats; or simply to have some fun batting a ball and stealing bases. The kids who show talent for baseball are selected to join the little leagues and play against teams from different municipalities. The most talented go to sports schools and from there, after much training and many competitions, the best are chosen for the provincial teams. For world competitions, the Cuba Baseball Team is composed of the players who have achieved outstanding results in their provinces during the year.
However, while the kids are still kids, playing ball in their localities ensures them a safe and healthy way of spending their free time. Dads take out time to cheer their sons on when the team competes or simply practices, proud of his kid’s first homerun, or stolen base or scoring his first run.
Although volleyball and football have gained popularity in Cuba over the years, it is baseball that attracts millions of spectators to the stadiums scattered throughout the Island and is followed by millions more through radio and television.
Baseball reigns supreme among sports in Cuba, and little kids zealously follow their teams’ performances during the season series, dreaming that one day they will be able to change the grandstand for the diamond.