A short field guide to surviving Winter League Baseball in Puerto Rico with RHPrambo.
Happy New Year Cup Checkers. This article will surely help all y’all protect the goods in Puerto Rico. I just spent exactly two months in a different country. Talk about seclusion. Yes I know technically Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of America (our bad), but they really are still their own country. Americanized in the sense that there are more BK lounges (a.k.a. Burger Kings), and Church’s Chicken restaurants per capita than I have ever seen in my life, and also more cars per capita than any place else in the world. 4 million people on the tiny 45×100 mile island, just over 3 million cars. Needless to say, that’s way too many cars. Be prepared to be frustrated, stuck in 90 minute traffic for 10 mile commute, zero turn signals whatsoever, and above all ZERO CARES GIVEN. (We all know the explicit verse of that phrase.)
Anyhow Puerto Rico is a top notch must visit island for an inexpensive, easily maneuverable island. Gas is in liters, distances in kilometers, very few street signs, but alas Cup Checkers! The locals are quite detailed in direction assistance for us Gringos. And most friendly. Puerto Ricans are so proud of their island. They will give you all the history of whatever town you are in and more just from a simple greeting.
Now for the good stuff. The league is highly competitive so if you get the opportunity to play down there and your body isn’t worn down, do it! I had the honor and privilege of playing for the Mayagüez Indios. The Yankees of the PRWL. 18 league championships and some crazy 13 out of the last 17 I believe. The people of Mayagüez love their team and baseball. And the reference to them being the Yankees of the league is not only to the great amount of championships we had won, but also because the fans will boo you if you suck…..so don’t suck.
I became enveloped with the culture. I bought into it all. The team, the tradition, the food (shocker), the people, and finding the love of baseball all over again. The game is so loved down here. Sure there may not be the grandest of crowds in the stands, but if you win, and the Indios are almost in the playoffs, get ready for the wildest, most fun games you could imagine.
Off days are every Monday, and Thursdays for the first month….then Thursdays become the make up day for games that got rained out. For those of you from Florida or have spring training there, you know what I’m talking about. Rain is as common as the next BK lounge. Somehow someway we were beyond blessed and lucky to never have rain on a Monday off day. Take advantage of the beaches men. Playa Sucia, “dirty beach,” in fact is not dirty at all and has some of the most beautiful views and scenery I have ever gazed upon. Private and secluded, and all the room in the world to yourself. Crashboat beach. The one we spent most of our time at, piña coladas, pinchos, and guys selling funny looking hats and trinkets. And the pelican guy. Dude has no less than 15 pelicans trained better than most dogs. Clearest water I have ever been in…(hailing from Texas that wouldn’t be saying much, but hell, you can see 20-30 feet down when looking off the pier.)
Last but not least gentleman, island time. Get ready for this. You must be patient, you must be understanding, but you must also apply enough pressure to get what you need. If you need something done, ask for it plenty o time in advance….in Puerto Rico, you literally have all the time in the world. Well, the locals do. Not us. They do things whenever they so desire, there is no rush, there is no sense of urgency. You must become accustomed to this. Island time. I was a guest of their country. Gotta learn to relax enjoy a pincho, and try some of the moonshine rum.
Just scratching the surface with a broad synopsis on the island. I shall enlighten and enliven y’all with more of my adventures and experiences.
Live long and prosper.