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Take me out to the ballgame, take me out with the crowd

Buy me some perros and cerveza

I don’t care if I ever…




It has often been said you can trace U.S. military occupations by baseball. To this rule, though, Colombia is an exception. Here, the sport was introduced by local boys who learned it in other countries and thought it would be cool to play it in their Caribbean hometowns.


Gonzalo and Hibraim Zúñiga Ángel, brothers from the Chocó, went to the U.S. to study. When they got off the ship in Cartagena in 1903, they were toting bats, balls and other strange equipment. They and Fernando Gómez and Guillermo de la Espriella began playing the sport in that city. In the case of Barranquilla, three brothers—Venancio, Abraham and José García—brought the game in 1906 from Cuba; two years later they formed the Barranquilla Cubans team. The first game between these two rival cities was November 11, 1916; Cartagena won 6 to 2.


And it’s root, root, root for the home team

If they don’t win it’s a shame…


The professional season in Colombia depends on the major leagues in the U.S., as many players on State-side teams come down to play in the off-season. Generally, it’s from October to February. Only six cities have pro teams: Barranquilla Caimanes, Cartagena Indios, Montería Cardenales, Cali Toros (formerly of Sincelejo), and new-comers Medellín Potros and Bogotá Águilas.


What is big in this country is the minor leagues, or Liga Menor, which runs from March to September or October. Most towns along the Caribbean coast from Sucre Department to the Guajira have several teams, including Montería, Sincelejo, Cartagena, Barranquilla, Ciénaga and Santa Marta. Even Bogotá has a team, and Chiquinquirá will soon have its. Games are on Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m. So if you happen to be on the coast during the season, drop by the ballpark and catch the action.


So it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out at the ol’ ballgame....



Baseball Terminology

Listening to baseball is a good way to learn Spanish. The announcers use the same rhythm in play-by-plays—as long as you can recognize names and numbers, you’ll be surprised how much you can understand. In many beisbolista countries, expressions come straight from English, like picher, pichear, cacher, cachear, beateador and batear. In Colombia, they use more formal terms. Here’s a few of them to help you through the game:

lanzador — pitcher; verb: lanzar

receptor — catcher; verb: recibir

campo corto — short stop

jardinero — outfielder

primera, segunda, tercera base — first, second, third base

jonpleit — homeplate

carrera — run

jonrón — home run

entrada — inning


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