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Russian International Baseball Road Trip

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We arrived in Moscow with great fanfare and celebration.  You know, the usual welcome the Foreign Devils receive on our international baseball road trips.

In Moscow we stayed at the Cosmos Hotel, an imposing 2500 room hotel complete with restaurants, bars, and casinos. The view from the hotel was of the Worker's Park.

And then the adventure began.  Each day we spent the morning and early afternoon sightseeing and the late afternoons playing baseball.  Lenin's Tomb on Red Square was an interesting stop as we visited Lenin in his glass coffin.  It's an eerie sight to see someone who died in 1924 preserved as if he could sit up and ask whether Pete Rose was in the Hall of Fame yet.

Game action live from Moscow State University's 5,000 seat astroturf baseball stadium. The stadium was a gift by Tokai University in Japan as the result of more than 20 years of exchange and friendship between the two universities.

The changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier outside of the Kremlin.

We alternated playing games between Moscow State University and the Red Army Field while in Moscow. Note the late arriving Dodger fans.

The world's largest cannon inside the Kremlin.  It was pointed at attacking armies, who in turn retreated or altered their attack.  It was never fired as Russian engineers determined it would explode if actually fired.

Our Senior Devils team and the Russian Rustar team after a Devils victory at MSU. Can you tell which team is which?

The onion domes of the Assumption Cathedral, the site of coronations and marriages for many a Czar.

This might have been a home run if it didn't look so foul . . . . .

An earlier gift exchange with the Moscow State team where we presented them with full major league uniforms with MSU written in the Cyrillic alphabet. On our last trip we donated over 100 new gloves, 50 new bats, 60 new batting helmets, 6 new sets of catcher gear, and dozens of baseballs.

 

Novodevichy monastery is now the center of the Russian Orthodox Church and its cemetery the home of Russia's famous astronauts, Premiers, artists, and national heroes.

A statue commemorating the creation of the first Russian Navy by Peter The Great majestically towers over the Volga River.

After 4 games in Moscow, we took the overnight Red Arrow Express train to St Petersburg. Looking for some action, five of our players line the train corridor hoping that our female conductor Natasha will have to try and squeeze by again.

If its 8am, then this  must be St Petersburg. Our group of weary ballplayers leaves the Express for our first day of sightseeing and baseball in Peter the Great's city by the sea.  We arrived during both white nights celebrations and the city's 300 anniversary.

The famous Blood Cathedral as seen during our canal boat tour of St Petersburg.  Not as extensive as Venice, St Petersburg's canal network is vast and avoids much of the street traffic.

Game action from the St Petersburg Lions home field.  Created by hand on the site of an abandoned building, the Lions field is a great example of the commitment many Russian players have to the game of baseball.

Peterhof Palace outside of St Petersburg is an amazing sight with 10,000 fountains all operating using natural water pressure.

Our St Petersburg baseball games were played under cloudless skies with temperatures hovering around 75 degrees.  Over one hundred fans showed up for each game.

We played a total of 4 games in St Petersburg and were hosted by the Lions. 

St Peter and Paul's monastery on the Neva River has been the site of numerous beach volleyball competitions over the years including the Goodwill Games.

The Hermitage Museum as seen from our palatial boat cruising down the Neva River.

 

Some of our players enjoying our farewell banquet. Does it seem obvious that we had a beautiful Russian waitress serving the group? 

 

     The two 1948 Japanese baseball cards shown here are of Russian player Victor Starffin. A member of the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame, Starrfin's 303-175 record with a 2.03 ERA made him Japan's first 300 game winner. An annual Russian-Japanese youth baseball tournament is played in Moscow each year in his honor on the same Moscow State University Astroturf stadium we played.

 

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