An advertisement for Omnitel, a lithuanian cellphone service provider, on the back of the airplane seat. I doubt that anyone, except baseball players, would know how to interpret this ad.
So I am now in Lithuania and there is so much to say. So much to say.
I am staying here in a student Dormitory, on the first floor were stays all of the foreign exchange students and visiting professors for the University, 'Kauno Kolegija'. I have my own room, with a shared kitchen and shower with one other room. When I arrived a Turkish couple, both professors, were staying in that room. They left this morning, so now the apartment is all to myself. As I was writing this blog, the ‘house mother’ came to my door to give me the list of house rules in English. In fact I did not know there was such a sheet of paper, and for the past three days I have been learning bit by bit the rules of this place. How nice it would have been to have this sheet of paper to begin with……so it goes.
My place is less than ten minutes’ walk from Gintaras Stadijona, Kaunas Lituanica's home stadium. I can walk to practice and to games everyday, I can run there to exercise or hit or whatever whenever.
I have thus far been to
two practices with the Kaunas team. And from the first practice it is evident that it is not the same team as before. Binas, our first baseman, has left for England where he has a job in a poultry factory as a pharmacist/chicken tester of sorts. Our third baseman, Mazylas, is not playing for us anymore for personal reasons. His brother, Marijus, our best pitcher and one of our best hitters, had knee surgery three months ago and still cannot run. Aivaras, first baseman and a strong pitcher, who did not play much last season because he was injured, is back with us and is looking close to his previous form.
In the absence of Marijus, Kisa, one of our infielders, has been pitching much more and will be relied on heavily this season. Sergei is looking very strong at third base.
In addition, we have a new player from Japan playing with us. His name is Yagi (spelling could be wrong), and he is here in Kaunas working for six months. He is a photographer working for a newspaper in Japan, on assignment in Kaunas.
This year in the Lithuanian League we will play three games
per weekend, one more than the two-a-week schedule from last year. This makes a big difference because it forces each team to go deeper into their (essentially non-existent) bullpens. It will make for some interesting games in terms of the strategies for when teams will throw their good pitchers and when they will try to steal some innings pitching a guy with less experience.
In addition to the Lithuanian Championship there is the Interleagues between Belarus and Lithuania teams, and also the Lithuanian Cup, a tournament involving teams from Lithuania, Latvia, and Belarus. And of course the European Cup in Holland in June.
In three weeks we will go to Belarus to play the Interleague Championships between Lithuania and Belarus. In order to play there we all need visas, and it is not yet clear whether I will have my visa in time.
What else…..oh, and our baseball and bat situation right now is in dire straits. We have about a dozen playable baseballs, and a half dozen wooden bats left (for the whole season). Four of those are composite bats, which should last. I hope they last through the European Championship one month from now. Christian,
if you are reading this blog entry, PLEASE BRING BASEBALLS!!! And bats if you have them.
I sent a package from France to Lithuania with equipment but it has yet to arrive. That is the next task (of many)--to track it down.
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