Watching Live Baseball In Bocas Del Toro

Last Sunday when I was walking around Bocas Town, I noticed that there was baseball being played on the sports field (there is only one of these in Bocas and I think it’s mainly used for baseball and football). There was music and it looked like a fun atmosphere so I told myself I’d go and watch it next week (I didn’t stay last week because I really needed a drink/food/toilet so was on my way back to the hostel).

It’s about a 10 minute walk from my hostel and I went at about 4pm. I had kind of noticed this when I landed in Bocas but thought I might have just been imagining it or something, but no, I was right…. The sports field is literally attached to the runway. I guess the field has been there for ages and then when they built an airport that was the only place for the runway so they just put some tarmac over one side of the field. There’s no fence or anything separating the runway from the field! I wanted to take a picture but I just didn’t feel like I should because people were already looking at me like “why is there a tourist here?!” so I didn’t want to be any more touristy by taking a picture. This is all I could find on Google Images – you can see the runway and airport building on the right hand side of the field if you click on this link:

http://www.google.com/imgres?biw=1360&bih=667&tbm=isch&tbnid=mTwKdXB5PNne6M:&imgrefurl=http://www.geographylists.com/panama_bocas.html&docid=UHCRW0D36ytr9M&imgurl=http://www.geographylists.com/panama_bocas_runway2.jpg&w=1287&h=855&ei=nf9RUtf2H5Lb4APh9oCQBg&zoom=1&ved=1t:3588,r:41,s:0,i:210&iact=rc&page=3&tbnh=160&tbnw=255&start=38&ndsp=24&tx=48&ty=79

Anyway there were about 5 rows of seating made of pieces of wood, like normal bleachers in a basketball arena or whatever, with no seat-backs. There were probably about 50 people there. A couple of guys in the corner had 2 big coolers with cans of beer and soft drinks which a lot of people were buying. The beer was definitely the most popular option. A woman appeared near the end with a big container of soup with big bits of meat in that she’d obviously just made in her house, and paper cups, ready to sell (for $1 I think).

I don’t know whether the music was being controlled by the guys selling beer or by someone else but there was latino music being played the whole time, loud enough to make an atmosphere but not too loud for talking. In the crowd it was mostly parents with young kids, and groups of 18-30 year olds, plus an old man with half his teeth missing and holes in his clothes who was collecting the rubbish from the ground. I’m guessing he’s one of those people the whole town knows and has probably been going to the baseball for years.

I’m not sure how many teams played (because I came late) but I know it was a tournament so not just 2 teams. I didn’t really concentrate on the game that much because I was just observing everyone and trying to stop the flies biting me and stuff, plus I don’t know the rules so I wasn’t exactly going to follow it properly anyway. It didn’t look like it was a very high standard and I think some of the players were young, like 16, but some older (25 or 30 or something). The crowd was quite loud and seemed to enjoy cheering at basically nothing (like someone simply hitting the ball). They were definitely having a good time.

After the games were all finished, the players came over to the seating area to speak to the crowd and have a beer. I guess a lot of the people watching were friends/family of the players. I don’t know if you’ve read my post about the Bocas Bambu restaurant, but in there I mentioned a hot waiter, and guess what…. He was playing baseball!!!! I didn’t notice during the game but he passed me in the seating area after and he recognised me but just said hi and carried on walking. I’m hoping it’s the same teams playing every Sunday so we’ll run into each other every time I go and watch!

I was sitting at the edge of a row and after the games one guy (not a player, someone from the crowd) said hi and came and sat next to me (a bit too close but I couldn’t move away otherwise I’d fall off the bench) and asked if I enjoyed the game etc. We chatted for about 15 minutes and he said he owns a water-taxi and works in customs at the airport. He gave me his card which had his number on and he told me I can call him when I want to go to a beach on a different island and he’ll take me for free in his water-taxi and we’ll go with his 3 year old daughter. The only part that sounds appealing is the 3 year old daughter and I made it clear to him that I wasn’t going to get in a water taxi by myself with some random guy I met at a baseball game, but he said I can bring a friend, so maybe I will next week or something. I hope I made it clear that I wasn’t attracted to him!

He told me the baseball is on every Sunday from 10am, so I’ll probably go most weeks (but earlier next time). It seems like a good way to meet people and chill out on a Sunday (and stalk the hot waiter).

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