What an incredible Opening Day! What a way to start a new baseball season. And what a difference a single year makes. Tuesday’s opening round of full-schedule action in Cuban National Series #49 produced one of the most truly remarkable individual batting displays in baseball history–a pair of grand slams by the same batter in the first inning of the year’s first game. And we are not talking here about Cuban baseball alone but about the organized game as it is played in any of the sport’s highest professional leagues. Double grand slams by a single batter in the maiden “episodio”of the year? How much fun is that! Even for those among us who are such traditionalists that we think baseball would be better off if fences were extended and home runs were banned altogether.
Alexei Bell–National Series slugging sensation two years back and offensive hero of the August 2008 Beijing Olympiad–Tuesday (November 3) became the first player in Cuban League history to smack two grand slam home runs within a single inning during Santiago’s bizarre mercy-rule-shortened 24-0 slaughter of Oriente League rival Camaguey. Bell thus matched a rarer-than-rare feat accomplished on only one single occasion in more than a full century of major league play. And such a Herculean feat is not known to have occurred anywhere else either in big-time competitions–not in the first class Japanese leagues, other Asian professional circuits, the North American minor leagues, or the Caribbean winter leagues. Nor has such a thing ever been witnessed in IBAF-sponsored international tournament play, and probably not in North American youth leagues either. The odds against even reaching the plate twice with the bases jammed in the same frame are themselves astronomical enough to make this baseball’s most unlikely occurrence. Bell–who earlier in his brief career snacked a similar pair of single-inning blasts during a 2007 playoff game, then later authored three base hits in a single frame during yet another 2008 post-season contest–now truly stands alone among ball players boasting remarkable and unparalleled one-day offensive explosions.
For the full story of Bell’s remarkable feat go to the newly revised www.baseballdecuba.com site at http://www.baseballdecuba.com/newsContainer.asp?id=1840