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Some would say Over the Top – Others would say “es beisbol”

by Paul Raymond on May 29, 2015

By:  Aron Levinson

– Havana, Cuba 

There’s nothing like playing baseball in Havana, Cuba. Young or old, Cuban or American, Democratic or Communism, the game between the lines is the same.

I’m sure the game was a blow out since the Cubans usually beat up on us most of the week. After a single to the outfield, I was standing on first base with one out. The next batter, Mike Labanowski, hit a ground ball to shortstop and I took off for second base. I took 10 strides, looked up and saw the second baseman in my path getting ready to receive the ball and turn a double play.

Shortstop made the throw to second base, second baseman stepped on the bag to force me out and I decided to slide hard into his legs and break up the double play.

I slid on my right side and clipped the second baseman in the shin to make him fall down and the ball fell out of his mitt. It was a train wreck of my making and when the dust settled, he was down, I was down, I made sure I didn’t break anything and then rolled over to see the second baseman wince in pain grabbing his shoulder.

I grabbed my helmet, dusted off, checked on him and jogged to the dugout with my teammate standing on first base with a fielder’s choice.

As I jogged back, I thought I created an international incident, something counter revolutionary, or even World War III. The dugout was silent, not a word and I sat down next to my pitcher, John Walker, and asked him what he thought about the play. He said, “It’s baseball.”

Later that day, a Cuban came up to me at the field and showed me a picture on their cracked Blackberry of the incident. It looked like a yard sale with glove, ball and helmet scattered near second base. That photo was the inspiration for the painting, Es beisbol.


Get on the bus because you never know what kind of new experience is waiting for you.

P.S. The second baseman was 71 years old and worked as a baggage handler at Havana International Airport.


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