Baseball First, Health Second in Ortega’s Nicaragua

They will allow 5,000 fans in the semifinal and finals games of this year’s First Division Baseball League.

A baseball game from the league back in May. Photo: EFE | Confidential

The organizers promise that “measures will be taken to avoid crowds”, although they will fill 33% of the stadium’s capacity.

By Yader Luna  (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – The Nicaraguan Baseball Commission announced that the semi-final playoffs and the final series of the current first division league “will take place entirely at the Dennis Martinez National Stadium” and will allow the entry of a maximum 5,000 people, after first announcing that they would play behind closed doors.

“A maximum of 5,000 people will be allowed to enter the Stadium, of which 2,000 will be for each of the teams involved and 1,000 for the capital they explained in a statement.
They also insist that “prevention and protection measures will be guaranteed to avoid the crowding of people as part of the measures against the covid-19”.

The best-of-seven semifinal games between Dantos and Esteli and Boer and Chinandega will be played between July 15th and July 30th.

Doctors and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) have insisted on avoiding crowds and holding massive activities. However, the government of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo have continuously called for large-scale events.

The capacity of the National Stadium is 15,000 people, that is, they will allow 33% of their capacity to enter.

Players’ Fear

This same week, the Baseball Commission indicated that they will take new measures to avoid infections by implementing “sanitary protocols from international organizations” that govern this sport.

These measures are taken almost two months after the death of the San Fernando team coach, Carlos Aranda, who died on May 21 after presenting symptoms of coronavirus, according to league and family sources.

Former star baseball player Norman Cardoze, recovered from covid-19, but was removed from his position as manager of the San Fernando team, days after offering statements about his ordeal, along with his son, as coronavirus patients.

After Aranda’s death, for more than a month games were suspended, due to the refusal of the players to play, afraid of catching covid-19, reported sports commentators.

The season resumed on June 26th with games to decide which teams would make the playoffs.

New measures

Within the new sanitary measures, all umpires working in each game must wear a mask and gloves.

“All players must wear the mask when up to bat. Failure to comply with this provision the batter will be fined. It is optional to use the mask when running the bases,” they indicated.

Another of the measures taken by the Commission is that “when the pitching coach or manager enters the mound to give instructions or make a pitching change, they must enter with their mask on and only one infielder may participate in said meeting, the rest must remain outside the circle of the pitching mound.” Otherwise, the manager will be fined.

“Handshaking or slapping is strictly prohibited when they celebrate a run or homerun, they must celebrate with a closed fist, forearm or helmet,” said the Commission in their statement.