Take me out to the ballgame, take me out with the crowd
Buy me some perros and cerveza
I donât care if I everâ¦
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 ZÃºÃ±iga Ãngel, brothers from the ChocÃ³, 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 GÃ³mez and Guillermo de la Espriella began playing the sport in that city. In the case of Barranquilla, three brothersâVenancio, Abraham and JosÃ© GarcÃaâbrought 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 itâs root, root, root for the home team
If they donât win itâs a shameâ¦
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, itâs from October to February. Only six cities have pro teams: Barranquilla Caimanes, Cartagena Indios, MonterÃa Cardenales, Cali Toros (formerly of Sincelejo), and new-comers MedellÃn Potros and BogotÃ¡ Ãguilas.
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 MonterÃa, Sincelejo, Cartagena, Barranquilla, CiÃ©naga and Santa Marta. Even BogotÃ¡ has a team, and ChiquinquirÃ¡ 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 itâs one, two, three strikes, youâre out at the olâ ballgame....
Listening to baseball is a good way to learn Spanish. The announcers use the same rhythm in play-by-playsâas long as you can recognize names and numbers, youâll 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. Hereâs a few of them to help you through the game:
lanzador â pitcher; verb: lanzar
receptor â catcher; verb: recibir
campo corto â short stop
jardinero â outfielder
primera, segunda, tercera base â first, second, third base
jonpleit â homeplate
carrera â run
jonrÃ³n â home run
entrada â inning