San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Granada Sharks Return To a Hero’s Welcome

A year after hanging up his baseball spikes only to be called back into action for one more season of play, Granada’s legendary shortstop Bayardo Dávila helped to lead the long-struggling Tiburones (Sharks) to their first national championship in nearly two decades.

Like the 2004 Boston Red Sox, the Tiburones fell behind in the seven-game series 0-3 against León, and a comeback looked all but impossible. But powered by Dávila, who homered twice to start Granada’s comeback in Game 4, and a pitching staff that never gave up, the Tiburones fought back to win the next four games and Granada’s first championship since 1990.

Thousands of Tiburones faithful waited out on the street in front of the baseball stadium to welcome home their team after winning the final game in León Sept. 20.

The team and its fans then paraded to the Cathedral at 2 a.m. and asked Bishop Bernardo Hormbach to open the church doors so they could all go in and pay their respects to God.

The bishop later said he thought the church was being taken over when the rowdy crowd showed up unexpectedly in the middle of the night, but he obliged and the following day celebrated a Mass for the team, calling the baseball players important role-models for the youth of Granada.

Dávila, who is just about to turn 40, is again contemplating retirement, but says the team’s directorate wants him to come back and play at least one more season in a shark uniform.

“They are going to want me to keep playing even after I am in a wheelchair,” he told The Nica Times with a laugh.


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