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Our Man in Havana, back in the U.S.
2008-09-17 07:17
by Bob Timmermann

And he's reporting on the state of Cuban baseball, as well as other sports there in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The Plaza de Armas is a block from Havana Bay and across the street from the fort that once guarded the city. It's Havana's oldest square — dating to 1520 — and is surrounded by used book sellers. It's here a man who identifies himself as Luis deals in baseball memorabilia.

He has a small suitcase filled with old sports photos, no doubt once the archives of a local newspaper, old game programs (including one from the '46 World Series) and in a cloth bag, old baseball cards in plastic cases. He's got a couple of Sandy Koufax rookie cards, a Hank Aaron rookie card, Harmon Killebrew, Ted Williams. How much for one of the Koufax cards? He says 150 Cuban convertible pesos, which is about $180.

Luis loves baseball. He is a rare Cuban who has a satellite dish, and so is able to watch American baseball games. That makes him very familiar with what is going on. Albert Pujols? "He is the best," Luis says. "Pujols is crazy."

Luis is wearing a T-shirt that says "Baseball is Life, The Rest is Just Details." He is a Cuban, and baseball is his sport, his life.

"The Cuban people, everybody has a bat," Luis says. "They play from when they're very young." He knows that times are changing. "The good players, they go to America," he says. "Cuban baseball is a little down. The stars here have hope no more. It's a problem for all sports."

2008-09-17 09:06:07
1.   berkowit28
Good, well-written article. What relation is Tom Timmermann of St. Louis to Bob Timmermann of St. Louis? Is he the same who occasionally visits here as "Bob's Brother"? Or is that another one?

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