June 2010

San Juan is heating up for Mets vs. Marlins Series

temps at bithorn.jpgDuring the summer it can get pretty hot in San Juan.  The field being synthetic can build heat pretty quickly.  Todays temperatures on the grass surface teetered around 150 degrees when the sun came out and when a cloud passed,  the temps dropped rapidly to 110-120. Nevertheless it was crazy hot. 

sanjuan logo.jpgOn a positive note.. the heat from the field helped dry the logos a lot quicker. Probably one of the larger logos we have put on the field with a dominating black background.  Pretty cool ( the logo not the weather) .   Its going to be a fun series with the Mets and Marlins this week. Stay tuned.

Developing Baseball in San Salvador

joel shows them the sites.JPGSan Salvador –  We evaluated a ballpark ( Estadio Jorge Elias Bahaia)  in San Salvador which is the capital of …El Salvador.   There is a group called (FESA) Fundacion Educado a un Salvadoreno that operates a school and a community sports development program.  El Salvadore has recently produced quite a few players that are in the minor leagues.  One prospect with the Seattle Mariners is Erasmo Ramirez.  He was 11-4 at fort wyane in 2009.

kids in left field.JPGThe field we looked in on is under a bit of stress from extensive use,  which is a good thing if your trying to grow your youth development programs, but not so good for the field.   It’s a small regulation diamond with 280ftdown the lines. What sets this ballpark apart from others is not only the use it gets by  teenagers but the used it recieves by the little guys in both foul pole corners.    Just a ton of activity for a little over 80000sq.ft.!  Hopefully we can come up with some options to make the field better for everyone involved.   While checking out the field , I ran across an “OLD SCHOOL” aerifier. 

spiker.JPGEl Salvador is a pretty cool country these days. US dollars is the currency. The landscape is covered with mountains and old volcanos..some look like they could still create some havoc but the locals say they are dead.  There is some great surfing along this particular surf line of central america . You need to check out the Tortuga Surf lodge outside of San Salvador. in El Tunco..if I only had a couple more days!  


Venezuelan Stadiums, fields…and roads!

bleacher signs.JPGOver the past few days we Took a look at a few ballparks in Venezuela .  Caracas, Barquisimeto, Maracay and Valencia.  Kind of ran out of time to see the others so a return in the near future is planned.   I was  in Venezuela in 2005 and once before that in 2001 for the Houston Astros vs., Cleveland Indians Exhibition match which was held in Valencia.  It’s great to see that since those visits, the fields have continually improved.   

P6081024.JPGCaracas has a stadium that is home to a couple clubs.   The Aguilles and the lenoes.  The Leones is the team Armando Gallaraga plays for during the winter.  Quite a few stories about the almost no – hitter still floating around.  A 20000 seat park located in the center of the city, Caracas is a unique park because of it amount of use. 

Valencia is home to the Magallanes Baseball club.    It’s about a two hour drive from Caracas (pending traffic) I say that because the traffic returning to Caracas to catch our flight was crazy! Raining heavily even saw a mud slide(on our side fo the road)  as the region is pretty mountainous.  It took us over 4 hours that last night to get back to Caracas.  Driving the roads in Venezuela is similar to the DR except your driving on mountain roads with 100″s of trucks.  We saw numerous accidents on the road between Caracas and Valencia.  Need to thank Jimmy /Mario Andretti who did most of the driving.  He knew the roads pretty well so watching him zoom past Police cars, speed, etc…was pretty much the required method to get around.   Also Hearing the weekly President Hugo Chavez radio address was interesting as it took up about 4 hours of time on the road ..ironically blocking out any type of emergency message about the mud slide so traffic continued to clog.  However the silver lining to the roads is the price of gas. We filled the tank to our Chevy for 78 cents!  Not bad for 15 gallons of fuel.  (And we didn’t even have to pump it!)    

caracas7ij8.jpgWe actually drove from Caracas to Barquisimeto which ended up being about 5 hours.  Nice stadium with a pretty good level of Bermuda grass.    Our traveling party included MLB’s  Joel Aryjo, Jimmy and Armin who is the local RSA for MLB.  There’s a new Hilton/Embassy suites hotel being built in Valencia which will be nice when the finish it.   When we arrived it was dark in the hotel and the reason was not that it was not completed…it was because Presidente Chavez requires mandatory power reductions for all businesses.    Glad I had my flashlight!