‘For the people of Matanzas it is a true joy and honor that the solemn act of declaration is held in our Palmar de Junco stadium, a National Monument, and the oldest active stadium in the world,’ said Francisco Soriano, radio commentator and narrator.
Soriano reflected to Prensa Latina that the declaration is a tribute to a sport that is part of the idiosyncrasy of Cubans and their culture, and of the country’s history.
He recalled that innumerable national sports players were trained in Palmar de Junco, who constitute an example of sportsmanship and civic quality, as are the cases, among the most mentioned, of Martín Dihigo and José de la Caridad Méndez.
It is also, he pointed out, a recognition to local historians who have always advocated that the areas of the facility, located in the Pueblo Nuevo neighborhood, host the island’s Baseball Hall of Fame.
‘It is a gift to the 328th anniversary of our beloved city of Matanzas, celebrated this October 12, the venue for countless cultural and sporting events since the 19th century,’ he added.
The cultural contribution in those years of the well-called Athens of Cuba is widely known, something that marked it for posterity, said Soriano, with extensive participation in national and foreign events such as Olympics, Pan-American and Central American.
He recalled that together with the movement of poets, writers and artists, the first sports activities emerged, in which baseball stood out with encounters since 1847; and the recognized first international match between Matanzas and sailors from an American ship, in 1865.
He spoke of the historic game between a team from Havana and the one from Matanzas, on December 27, 1874, in which both teams went to the Palmar de Junco grounds, and is considered the first official of Cuba.
The meeting, he recalled, was developed with the rules existing then, the two uniformed teams, with referee and scorer and the news was published in the newspapers La Aurora del Yumurí, Matanzas, and El Artista, in the Cuban capital.
‘On October 19 we will have an act of great patriotic content. Important recognition of the favorite sport of Cubans and of the city of Matanzas, the initiator in Cuba of this social phenomenon that is baseball’, he stressed.