Nine Innings That Shook The World

May 09, 1999

The final score was 12-6, at least on the field. Elsewhere during Baltimore's revolutionary week of baseball diplomacy, the results were less conclusive.

Pro-Cuba and anti-Castro protesters were expected to storm the ramparts of Camden Yards. Passions indeed ran high -- even ran onto the field -- but huge mobs never materialized. When they weren't confined to their buses and hotel, the visitors from Cuba saw a curious mix of Charm City and armed city. "Is there always so many police in Baltimore?" one Cuban inquired. Depends on who's in town, hon.

Peter Angelos tried to ensure that Oriole Park remained its usual (yawn) sedate self, but Cuban flags and pride made that impossible. Angelos also kept immigration agents from getting too close to the park. Perhaps that's why the only Cuban defector took eight hours to get from Camden Yards to police headquarters. Or maybe he just spent some time on The Block.

Back on the diamond, defects were everywhere in the Orioles' performance. But there was one flawless moment, when even die-hard O's fans in the stands joined Cuba aficionados in a standing ovation for Andy Morales' final- inning home run. Just as good pitching always beats good hitting, good hitting always beats politics.

Pub Date: 05/09/99

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