Thanksgiving Day eve was a travel day for the Owls, their fans and family. While the group of fans made it down on an earlier flight and enjoyed a three-hour bus tour from Veradero through Matanzas to Havana, the team arrived at the Melia Habana hotel at 8:10 p.m. local time.
As soon as coach Wayne Graham, his staff and team members were able to get checked into their rooms and drop off their luggage, they joined the rest of the party for a buffet dinner in the hotel.
With the national holiday tomorrow, we asked some of the guys what their favorite thing about Thanksgiving Day is.
Cody Staab, outfielder from College Station, Texas:
“It’s definitely about getting to be around the ones you care about and love. This year it’s not with my family but these guys, the guys I’m with (here). I am with them much of time. These guys are just as much family to me. As for a favorite food item, my mom makes the best stuffing in the world.”
Andrew Dunlap, DH, from Houston:
“I have to say my mother makes a sweet potato pie with mushrooms and pecans cooked into the mushroom topping … that and cranberry sauce.”
Ryan Chandler, outfielder from Houston:
“My favorite thing about Thanksgiving is definitely being around family and the homemade food my mom and grandma make for us … just being around the entire family and telling stories.”
Dayne Wunderlich, outfielder, from Brenham, Texas:
“My favorite thing is probably just going back home and being in Brenham and seeing all of my family. I have two nephews, a niece, all my brothers and my grandparents. It’s just good to get home during the holidays and see everyone.”
Kendal Jeffries, infielder and pitcher, from Spring, Texas:
“The meal. I love the meal … just sitting around the table with my family and enjoying a good meal. My mom makes deviled eggs every Thanksgiving and they go fast, so you better get them quick.”
The Owls will celebrate their holiday away from their family and country, but they’re going to stay busy. First thing in the morning the team will hold its first Cuba practice. Then they’ll have a classroom session with Professor Luis Duno-Gottberg and the Cuban Baseball Federation. To end the day, the team will join family and friends for a dinner at La Divina Pastora. We’ll have coverage of the Owls’ first full day tomorrow evening.
Tip of the day: Cubans prefer you say “ciao” rather than “adios” when parting.
Follow #LosBuhos and @RiceBaseball on Twitter throughout the trip for updates on the team’s activities.