Homerun for Industriales, Fowl for Its Fans



Two days ago the Latin American Stadium in Havana was flooded with police. During the previous afternoon, the fans there hadn’t shown many signs of courtesy, and law officers acted in a way that some found annoying.

People say the force used to ensure people obeyed the law was greater against the Industriales fans and to the benefit of the followers of the Sancti Spiritus team.

This is not the first time something like this has happened, because it’s well known that most police officers in Havana are from other provinces, especially from the eastern areas of the island.

But two days ago you “knew” acts of revenge were going to be triggered between the fans of one team and the other.  Yet thanks to the mega police presence, no unfortunate incidents took place.

In Friday’s game the agents of law and order weren’t involved in any great commotion either. But a friend told me something that shows the need for the Cuban government to finally adopt and enforce a law for the protection of animals.

What happened also filled me with shame, because since I’m an Industriales fan —I only like baseball when the Industriales are playing— I feel a little responsible for what was done by my fellow team supporters.

Of course just because we share the same sports interest, I don’t feel responsible for all the betting or the improper actions and bad language used by citizens of the capital city against the excellent ball players from the competing teams.  But what happened today was sad. It demonstrated the low-level of humanity…of culture.

What’s more, there was no authority to prevent what happened.

Lions and Roosters

Like in almost all sports, each Cuban baseball team adopts a nickname after some animal, plant or object that is representative of their province.  Accordingly, the Industriales are “the Lions,” those of Villa Clara are “the Oranges” and those from Santi Spititus are “the Roosters” (after the famous rooster of Moron).

It’s normal that in each stadium you’ll find banners with drawings of a rooster pecking a lion to death, or a lion mauling a rooster, even something as amiable as the prediction by Sancti Spiritus third baseman Yulieski Gourriel, who said “Today the lion’s going to die of distemper.”

The creativity multiplies and deserves applause.

But this afternoon a rooster was brought into the Latin American Stadium.  It was not the first time that the fans came with a bird, but it was the first time —at least the first time that I know of— that they tied one by the legs and sent it sailing like a rock from a sling – one similar to that of David’s from the Bible.

The rooster only fluttered, unable to free itself from the rope.  In the euphoria of the game, won by the Industriales team, the carrier of the rooster began to whirl the rooster around by his head.

Until that moment the animal struggled for its freedom; there was nothing else it could do.  But the “euphoria” —for the lack of a better word— continued to surge until finally over that whole area of bleachers went flying the head, feathers and guts of the dismembered fowl.  It was as if this were some ceremony of shamans to win the favor of the god of rain.

I’m sure that many shamans would refuse to sacrifice any animal, much less one in this way.  So I don’t know what to compare those dear fans to who so savagely tortured the bird that always signals the dawn.

How long will our abuse of animals continue?

Today I’m delighted with the victory of the Industriales team, but embarrassed for being an Industriales fan.