Arangure: How the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame was brought back to life

From Jorge Arangure Jr. at VICE Sports on February 4, 2015:

On a recent Sunday afternoon, the Estadio Latinoamericano in Havana was only half full for a game between the home team Industriales and the visiting Ciego de Avila. The atmosphere for Cuban baseball games can often be crazy, loud, and all the other stereotypical things you hear about Latin American sporting events, but not now, not here, not for this game. This feels more like a midweek small market game in the U.S.

Cheering comes in spurts, but mostly the crowd watches quietly and intently as the home team batters poor Ciego. During the middle innings, I walk through the stands. This is the second game I’m attending in Cuba and I’m not sure if and when I’ll get an opportunity to see another one. I want to experience every bit of it, from the vendors selling roasted pork sandwiches to the newspaper reporters sitting in the lower level press section to the fans in the seats. On my excursion, I walk by fathers and sons; past mothers and daughters; and through clusters of teenagers out on dates.

It is during this stroll that I spot a man with whom I’ve been wanting to speak. He sits in the lower level stands, near the press area adjacent to the visiting team dugout. There is nothing particularly extraordinary about him in appearance: he is middle-aged, bookish with glasses, and is wearing a red polo shirt.

But several days prior, he had been introduced to me as a rather important figure in Cuban baseball, a historian whose contributions have helped bring the national sport into the modern era.

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Originally published: February 4, 2015. Last Updated: February 4, 2015.