Puerto Rico’s 2012-2013 Winter Baseball League
Though you may not be able to buy "peanuts and cracker jack", a baseball game in Puerto Rico is an economical and fun evening out. Every winter (from November through January), baseball heats up on the island. Not only do we have local players on the teams, but some of the US league players come down to keep in shape and play in their off-season.
So, if you are having baseball withdrawal, catch a game while you’re here — I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Local League & Teams
For over 70 years, Puerto Rico has had its own baseball league. A number of the local athletes that have played in our league have gone onto bigger things, like the Major and Minor leagues in the States, and other divisions and leagues around the world.
The main professional baseball league in Puerto Rico is the Liga Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente (Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League), on Twitter @LBPRC. Previously, the league was called Puerto Rico Baseball League. Before that, the league was called La Liga de Béisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico (Professional Baseball League of Puerto Rico). If you search the internet for info on this league, you’re likely to find it under any/all of those names.
The winners of this league go on to participate in the Caribbean World Series.
2012-2013 Schedule, Teams and Venues
The 2012-2013 baseball season starts on 08 November 2012. This season, there will be 6 teams from around the island playing in the league. That’s the most teams that have played in the league since 2008.
The teams in the league this year are
- Los Criollos de Caguas (on Twitter @CriollosCaguas)
- Los Gigantes de Carolina (on Twitter @GigantesPRBL)
- Leones de Ponce (on Twitter @LeonesPRBL)
- Cangrejeros de Santurce (on Twitter @CangrejerosPR)
- Atenienses de Manatí
- Los Indios de Mayaguez (on Twitter @MayaguezIndios)
- Los Gigantes de Carolina — Roberto Clemente Walker Stadium in Carolina (schedule)
- Los Criollos de Caguas — Estadio Yldelfonso Solá Morales in Caguas (schedule)
- Los Indios de Mayaguez — Estadio Isidoro "El Cholo" García in Mayaguez (schedule)
- Leones de Ponce — Estadio Francisco Paquito Montaner in Ponce (schedule)
- Cangrejeros de Santurce — half of their games are in Estadio Mariano "Nini" Meaux in Juncos , and half are in Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan
- Atenienses de Manatí — Parque Pedro Román Meléndez in Manatí
- Caguas, Manati, Mayaguez, Ponce, and Santurce (both stadiums)- games start at 7:15 pm during the week and Sundays at 4:00 pm
- Carolina:- games start at 7:15 pm during the week and Sundays at 6:00 pm
Each team is supposed to play 40 games throughout the season.
The Roberto Clemente Baseball League game schedule is available on the Major League Baseball web site. The scoreboards for the Roberto Clemente Baseball League games are also available on the MLB web site.
The home stadiums for each of the teams are
The games start times:
No games on Mondays, Thursdays have been left open for catch-up games that had to be canceled/postponed. Tickets are cheap, usually about $10 for the best seats in the house (varies by stadium), regular seats are a few dollars less and tickets for kids and seniors are super discounted. Food and drinks are available for purchase at each stadium.
Take Me Out to a Ball Game
I am not a huge baseball fan, but I can follow along. We went to a game at the Estadio Roberto Clemente Walker in Carolina a couple seasons ago.
My first observation is that not all that many people go to the games. I really don’t understand why not! Since there were so few spectators, we got a great parking spot and great seats. My second observation is that it is really a bargain! Parking was only $2.00. Adult tickets range in prices from $4.00 to $6.00. Kids are half-price. And, honestly, I didn’t see anyone checking tickets once you got into the stadium. So I bet (especially on slow nights) you could buy the cheapest tickets and move to any seat in the stands. We paid for the "best" seats (a whole $6.00 each) and sat in the front row along the first base line.
If I had to guess, I’d say there was a maximum of 150 spectators in the whole stadium. I think the stadium can hold about 12,000 people. As you can see in the pictures, it was empty!
One odd thing that I noticed was that, with the exception of a few enthusiastic fans, the crowd was pretty quiet. But this game, which lasted about 3 hours, had its share of exciting moments. The pitchers did a great job. Two batters actually splintered their bats. A number of foul balls went up into the stands. The best moment was when a batter hit the ball out of the park with the bases loaded — a grand slam that cinched the game for the Arecibo Wolves. The final score was Arecibo 6, Carolina 2.
The game was a really family friendly experience. Besides the great ticket price, the players are really friendly.
Kids would hang out by the dugout and occasionally, as the catcher was walking back after an inning, he would throw a ball up to the kids.
As the players came off the field between innings, they would wave or smile to the kids, or even talk/gesture to the spectators cheering them on (or heckling them!).
We had guests staying in our rental home that went to the stadium hoping to catch a game in late October. Since it was before the season started, they ended up sitting in on a practice session. After practice, some of the players spent some time talking with the kids and gave them an autographed baseball. Really nice!
The Roberto Clemente Walker Stadium
The stadium is big, beautiful and well-maintained. It has the typical big-screen scoreboard, so you could see the score and who was pitching and batting.
The snack bar had reasonably priced food and beverages, with some typical Puerto Rican food (like plantain chips and pinchos), some regular ballpark fare (like popcorn, hamburgers and hot dogs). The local Medalla beer was $3/can, and the beer guy came around in the stands every 5 minutes or so. There was even a bar for mixed drinks, with a waitress to bring them to you if you didn’t want to get up and risk missing the action. The bathrooms were plentiful and clean.
There were security guards around, but there were no issues that needed them. There was plenty of parking (and close to the stadium entrance since there were so few spectators).
The cost of tickets varies between $4.00 to $7.00 for adults. Children get a 50% discount on the general and preferred tickets. There was a VIP ticket window (I assume for box seats) but I did not see the price. Other stadiums may charge other prices, but they are all economical. Tickets can be purchased at the Boleteria (ticket window) at the stadium.
Game times vary by day of week and stadium, so make sure to check the schedule for start times. And. they seem to start on time, so don’t be late!
Bring an umbrella with you. The season is during a wet time of year, so showers come and go. The game we went to continued through a light rain. Many people got up and moved to covered sections of the stands during the showers.
I don’t know if it is allowed or not, but no one checked our bag for food or beverages. I assume you could try to bring something in with you, though the prices were not outrageous at the park for the snacks and drinks they offered.
The Roberto Clemente Walker Stadium is on Route 3. From San Juan, take expressway 26 past the SJU airport into Carolina and get onto Route 3 East. In 2½ miles, you’ll see the stadium on the left just after you go over a river. From Rio Grande, Luquillo, Fajardo and other eastern areas, take Route 3 West and exit before getting on the overpass. You’ll see the stadium on your right.
Use this map to locate places mentioned in this article. You can click on a placemark to view the GPS coordinates for that place.