Touching ’Em All: Recalling and
Recounting Home Runs
The sixth inning ended with Los Metros being manhandled by
Habana. The game is threatening to become a nocout, but
neither side is playing particularly well. It completely lacks
calidad, and lo ambiente is absent this evening. This extremely
one-sided game has bored the few fans in the stadium. Rocco, Chino,
Blanquito, Cotorro, and the others of El Círculo converse among themselves
and only comment occasionally about the events of the field. Abruptly,
Cotorro stands up, clambers over a row of empty seats so those sitting to
either side of him do not have to stand, and starts to leave. ‘‘I’m going. This
[game] isn’t doing anything for me. Besides, I’ve already seen this movie.’’
Rocco and Chino both immediately start teasing him, ‘‘What kind of
fan are you?’’ Cotorro waves away their playful criticisms, but the others
will not relent. ‘‘Oh, you are a santero now? Know the future do you?’’
Exasperated, Cotorro finally snaps, pointing at the three primary tor-
mentors in turn and asking ‘‘How many crocodiles did Tarzan kill?’’
The seemingly incongruous question brings the rest up short. They
smile and nod as Cotorro waves one arm in the direction of the Metro-
politanos pitcher warming up in preparation for the seventh inning. The
pitcher bounces a pitch in front of the plate that goes past the catcher to
the backstop. ‘‘You see?’’ The others chuckle, and Cotorro takes his leave.
As the seventh inning starts, Blanquito tries to explain the significance
of Cotorro’s final comments. ‘‘You know who Tarzan is, right? You’ve
seen Tarzan movies? How many times does the crocodile kill Tarzan?’’ In
other words, this game is like an action film. The hero may end up in a
dangerous situation, but the audience knows that the hero will eventually
triumph. No crocodile ever kills Tarzan, and Cotorro knows that the
outcome of this game is a foregone conclusion as well.
The outcome was never in doubt. This particular game simply was not
spectacular. It lacked the calidad, lucha, and ambiente that Cuban fans desire
for it to be included in el espectáculo. In part, this game lacked these quali-
ties because the level of play was groan-inducingly poor on this evening.
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