Iraqi Baseball Team Visits to Get Feel for America’s Pastime
|May 19, 2010||Filled under All Dinar Trade Articles|
The players on Iraq’s premier national baseball team saw a baseball stadium for the first time on a recent 10-day visit to the United States, courtesy of the State Department.
WASHINGTON — The players on Iraq’s premier national baseball team saw a baseball stadium for the first time on a recent 10-day visit to the United States, courtesy of the State Department.
It was also the first time they had an appreciation of why the game is considered America’s pastime.
“We had this idea that (Americans) loved baseball, but not to this extent,” said Ali, a 15-year-old from Baghdad who, like all the players quoted in this story, didn’t want his full name used for fear of retribution back home. “We thought we were coming here to learn the basic rules of the game.”
Ali had just finished hobnobbing with Ivan Rodriguez, the Washington Nationals’ catcher, who’s considered one of baseball’s best defensive players, over home plate at Nationals Park. The State Department had arranged the outing to make sure the Iraqi team, which is coed, got a star-studded feel for the American game.
The Iraqi players had taken positions in the outfield and at first, second and third bases and at home plate to welcome the starting lineup as the pros took the field for a game. They were overwhelmed by the thousands of fans who cheered them on, the jumbo television screen behind them and the announcer booming their names.
As they scurried off the field, the players shared their giddy excitement. Hemallah, 15, of Quadisiya, said she’d been so excited that she forgot the little English she knew, but then she’d remembered how to say…(more story)
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