Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Venezuela Day 4: And as the band played on, how did the Sharks do?

The Opposition having won decisively, and the Chavistas having accepted the result with rather more good grace than had been predicted, it was safe(ish) to walk the streets.

I spent the morning and early afternoon visiting what is, apparently, the fourth biggest shopping mall in South America. It was, compared to El Recreo, surprisingly quiet, with some of the American brand stores somewhat lacking in stock, before walking back in the bright sunshine.

But I had plans for the evening. The only catch was that it meant going out... after dark... on foot. For the Tiburones de La Guiara were playing the Aragua Tigres not too far away. In other words, Venezuelan Winter League baseball.

A ticket cost 500 bolivars, which was good, and the stadium had beer - another plus.

After the national anthem (another of those examples where you think it's over, only for it to have another burst of life), the hosts got off to a flyer, taking a 3-0 lead in the first. The game then went scoreless until Los Angeles Angels pitching prospect, Tyler DeLoach lost his control in the fifth, hitting the first batter and walking the next two, conceding his first run of the night, compounded by an error by the second baseman which loaded the bases with just one out. A slightly fortunate dink over DeLoach's head, a firmly struck line drive to left field, and a three run lead was, almost before you knew it, a one run deficit. DeLoach was gone, and Los Tiburones had it all to do again. 

There was hope though, as the Tigers were more than just error-prone in the field. After all, their two mistakes in the first inning had been a major contribution to the Sharks three to nil lead. And so, it wasn't much of a surprise when dozy fielding allowed second base to be stolen, and an outfield error made it 5-4 Sharks. And with designated batter, Alex Cabrera, up next and with a tiring pitcher, you just knew what was going to happen next. Sure enough, a 3-2 pitch was muscled beyond the distant fence for the night's first home run. 7-4 Sharks and the band went berserk. Can we trade them for the band that follow England around?

A fifth inning that yielded eight runs split evenly, followed by an insurance run for the Sharks in the sixth, left the Tigers with it all to do.

In the seventh, a missed catch leading to a double, a wild pitch and more sloppy play by the Tigers made it 9-4, and it looked done and dusted.

That looked even more certain after three Tigers converged on a simple fly ball and in an exquisite 'after you, Juan, no, after you Cesar' moment, all failed to get a glove to it. The wild return to the catcher just put the tin lid on it - 10-4 Sharks.

And that was it. All I had to do now was walk the mean streets of Caracas to reach the safety of my hotel...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just checking that you're OK. Post something asap just so dad stops worrying about you.