In baseball, Greeks enjoy what they don’t understand

Oregonian, OR
Aug 17 2004

In baseball, Greeks enjoy what they don’t understand

ATHENS – In the first inning of an Olympic baseball game between Cuba
and Greece on Monday, some poor Greek fan, one who probably just
wanted to sit in his seat down the first base line and watch a live
baseball game in peace, had the misfortune of catching a foul ball.

So, he looked around for a few seconds.

Everyone looked back at him.

Then he reared back and threw the ball back onto the field, where it
rolled to the pitcher’s mound.

“I thought they needed the ball,” he said.

Otherwise, this was a normal game.

Cuba won 5-4. They served hot dogs at the stadium. One fan even
brought a glove.

Oh sure, some of the 6,700 Greeks here kept calling the bat a “club.”
And others asked why the three white “pillows” on the field were
shaped differently than the one on the ground near the catcher. And,
also, some enthusiastic guy wearing a giant blue and white Greek flag
like a super-Greek cape around his neck led the entire stadium in a
traditional soccer song.

They sang:

Sikose to,

To Timimeno,

Then boro,

Then boro,

Na perimeno!

Hey, can we work in a “Take two and hit to right?” Still, they sang.
They politely clapped whenever Cuba scored a run. And they danced to
music from the organ. And also, they chanted traditional Greek soccer
cheers that called for them to: “Raise the cup, raise the cup.”

Nobody minded that during the seventh-inning stretch only a handful
people knew to stand and stretch while they played “Take Me Out to
the Ballgame” on the public-address system. Maybe because nobody in
the place knew the words.

Otherwise, this game was as American as, say, apple pie.

“They are very enthusiastic,” said stadium usher Ariana Chris of
Toronto, “but also very uninformed.”

And why not?

Until recently there were two baseball diamonds in Greece. They were
located on an old U.S. Air Force base in Athens. Now, Greece has this
perfect baseball complex, with two perfect baseball fields featuring
perfect green grass and bright blue outfield fences, and concrete

“You’re from the States?” everyone wanted to know. “Is this what
Yankee Stadium is like?”

Yes, I told them.


Down the left field line, in seats that sold for 10 euros (about
$12.25 U.S.), here was 47-year-old Costas Platis, with his
13-year-old son and 19-year-old daughter, Daphne. They rode two buses
and a train to get here from their home in Ionnina in northern
Greece, near the Albanian border.

Said Daphne: “I’m Greek. So all I know about baseball is they go
around in a circle.”

See, just like Yankee Stadium.

And down the right field line was Dimitrios Georgitsas, a 28-year-old
police lieutenant. He is one of the few fans here who actually played
baseball. Well, OK, technically, he never really played. But, as a
teenager, he and his friends watched “The Natural” and then raced out
into the street with a wooden broom stick and an old tennis ball and
took turns pitching to each other.

“We would have played a game, but nobody knew the rules,” he said.

And here is Greece’s third baseman, Clay Bellinger, who played for
the Yankees in the 2000 and 2001 World Series. In fact, Bellinger
played every position except pitcher while in pinstripes. So, since
he’s had a good look around both places, Clay, what do you think? Is
this the House that Ruth Built 2 or what?



“Did you hear them singing those crazy soccer songs?” he asked.

Also, you should know this: On Sunday night in Greece’s opening game,
an 11-0 loss to the Netherlands, the entire stadium jumped to its
feet and cheered wildly after Greek pitcher Clinton Zavaras’ first
pitch was a called strike.

“I mean, they went nuts,” Bellinger said.

Then, Zavaras’ second pitch was called a ball.

“So, they all jumped up and went nuts again,” Bellinger said. “And
Clint steps off the mound and looks over at me and then around the
infield and we all started laughing. I think it’s great.”

Now, understand, there’s a little uneasiness with the players on this
team. But, really, isn’t that just like Yankee Stadium? Only two of
the 23 on the current roster were born in Greece. The rest were part
of the host country’s plan, with help from the International Olympic
Committee, to field a competitive team in every sport.

Greece wanted baseball. So it needed Greeks who could play baseball.
And since nobody here owns a broken-in baseball glove, it looked for
second- and third-generation Greeks from the United States and

“I don’t see the big deal,” Bellinger said.

It’s really not any different than what Armenia did in the 2002
Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, when it put together a team of
Armenian Americans in an attempt to jump-start the bobsled as a

But here, Team Greece baseball players and coaches say they’re
treated differently now by their Olympic committee. For example,
after their opener against the Netherlands, nobody bothered to wash
their uniforms. Stuff like that.

“Also, most of the other Greek athletes in the Olympic Village will
not talk to us,” coach Ioannis Kazanas said.

Strange, but true. Especially considering what the Greeks went
through to get this far.

Remember Daphne, Costis Platis’ teenage daughter?

“Four years ago, the Greek (Olympic Committee) came to my high school
and invited everyone to participate in as many sports as they could,”
she said. “They offered baseball, softball, badminton and encouraged
everyone to participate because we had no national teams in those

Now they do.

Team Greece ended up with two Greek-born baseball players on the
team. And a stadium filled with excited people, one of them wearing a
Jason Giambi Yankees replica jersey. Of course, the fans kept
explaining that their only brush with baseball was seeing a game in
an American movie and wanting to know more about it.

“We’re so ready for this,” Costis Platis said. “Greece is so ready.”

Ready, but is it just like Yankee Stadium?

Sure it is.

Maybe except for the message that flashed on the scoreboard after
that first inning.

It read: “You may keep foul balls.”

Soccer: European footbal teams begin journey to Germany

Expatica, Netherlands
Aug 17 2004

European footbal teams begin journey to Germany

16 August 2004

HAMBURG – While most countries throughout the world have long ago
begun their qualifying campaign for the 2006 World Cup in Germany,
the journey for European countries starts only on Wednesday.

Four qualifiers will be played.

In Group 1, Macedonia and Armenia clash in Skopje, with the home side
being the favourites. Not only is Macedonia ranked 92 in the world –
compared to 116 for Armenia, but coach Dragan Kanatlarovski can call
on several players playing throughout Europe.

Midfielder Vanco Trajanov, for instance, has just joined German
Bundesliga club Arminia Bielefeld, while Artim Sakiri plays his club
football for West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League.

The pick of the matches on Wednesday takes place in Bucharest, where
Romania take on Finland in another Group 1 match. With the Czech
Republic, the Netherlands and Andorra also in the group, the two
teams will know that they can ill-afford to drop points at this early

The home side suffered a setback ahead of the game, when captain
Christian Chivu broke a bone in his foot during beach football whilst
on holiday. Although the foot was put in plaster, it did not heal
sufficiently and requires corrective surgery ruling him out for the
next four international matches.

They still have a host of exciting players to call on, with Chelsea’s
striker Adrian Mutu being one of them.

Finland coach Antti Muurinen had to replace Anderlecht defender Teemu
Tainio and Auxerre midfielder Hannu Tihinen after they both were
ruled out through injury.

In Group Three, two of the weakest teams in European football play
their first games. Luxembourg, who are ranked 157th in the world and
second-last in Europe, seem to have an impossible task away to
Slovakia, who are ranked 86 places above them.

Luxembourg’s record in World Cup qualifiers is – nor surprisingly –
very bad and they have won only two (1961 4-2 against Portugal and
1972 2-0 against Turkey) out of 91 games. They have finished last in
their group every time they have played in the qualifiers.

Luxembourg will, however, fancy their chances to avoid that this time
around as also in their group is Liechtenstein, who are ranked just
three positions above them in the rankings.

Liechtenstein are at home in Vaduz against Estonia on Wednesday.
Although several of their players are part-timers, Liechtenstein
coach Martin Andermatt can call on several players who play for Swiss

Andermatt, who took over the side in March, will be looking to
improve on the Liechtenstein record from their last qualifying
campaign, when they were last in their group without a point or a

The other three teams in Group Three are: Portugal, Russia and

The next qualifiers will be played on September 4, when the majority
of other teams enter the competition.

Telecommunication developments in central & eastern Europe

Union Network International
Aug 17 2004

Central & Eastern Europe Newsletter – 31



OTE in licence negotiations OTE, the Greek operator which is the
majority shareholder in fixed-line operator Armentel, for which it
has been seeking a buyer, is to hold negotiations with the Armenian
government in the attempt to resolve outstanding issues. The
government has put off until September 28 the award of a second
mobile licence as a means, it said, of ‘facilitating the conduct of
the negotiations’.

[other countries omitted]

ARKA News Agency – 08/16/2004

ARKA News Agency
Aug 16 2004

Presidents of Armenia and Russia to conduct a working meeting in
sotchi on August 20

RA President meets with the delegation of Russkij Aluminy company



YEREVAN, August 16. /ARKA/. The Presidents of Armenia and Russia
Robert Kocharian and Vladimir Putin will conduct a working meeting in
Sotchi on August 20. According to the Press Service Department of RA
President, a large scope of issues of Armenian-Russian bilateral
relations will be discussed. L.V. – 0–



YEREVAN, August 16. /ARKA/. The RA President Robert Kocharian met
today with the delegation of Russkij Aluminy (RusAl) Company headed
by Alexander Livshits, the Deputy Director General of the company.
According to the Press Service Department of RA President, Livshits
presented the projects related to the activities of the factory and
the process of their implementation to the President. He said that it
is planned to implement a volume program of industrial reequipment of
the factory by means of attracting foreign investors. As a result of
the program, Armenal will become the most modern factory in CIS and
Europe. The Deputy Director also informed that financial mechanisms
of the investment program are currently being developed.
After the meeting, Livshits told the media, that `the meeting was
held in a friendly and constructive atmosphere’
The first meeting of RA President and the delegation of Russkij
Aluminy (RusAl) company took place on July 30, 2003. Then, it was
planned to invest $38 mln in industrial reequipment of Armenal. Now,
the investment in factory modernization will make $70 mln. L.V.-0–

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Eastern Prelacy: Class of 2004 Completes Siamanto Academy Program

Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America
138 East 39th Street
New York, NY 10016
Tel: 212-689-7810
Fax: 212-689-7168
e-mail: [email protected]
Contact: Iris Papazian

August 17, 2004


NEW YORK, NY-They all spoke with nostalgia about their three years at the
Siamanto Academy. This year’s graduates, Mark Yetemian, Sylvie Aghjayan,
Marie Demirchyan, and Massis Sarkissian, each read their graduation speeches
with emotion and gratitude for the enriching experience they had at the
Sponsored by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC), the three
year weekly program focuses on language, literature, history, Christian
studies and current events in addition to guest lecturers on various
Armenian cultural disciplines. This, in addition to the field trips that
enhance the traditional, national values that the students embrace, provide
a unique educational opportunity.
In the presence of parents and guests, Siamanto principal, Deacon Krikor
Lakissian, and ANEC executive director, Gilda B. Kupelian, the graduates
dressed in their caps and gowns, walked into the hall amidst enthusiastic
Dn. Lakissian gave a brief account of last year’s activities and Ms
Kupelian provided an overview of the Academy’s three year accredited
program. The graduates received their diplomas, awards and gifts from ANEC.
A reception hosted by the parents concluded the day’s joyous
The Academy’s 2004-2005 term will begin next month. For information
contact the ANEC office, [email protected] or 212-689-7810.

New coaches make mark as road to World Cup begins

New coaches make mark as road to World Cup begins

.c The Associated Press

LONDON (AP) – Three of soccer’s traditional powerhouses have new
coaches. It didn’t take them long to make their mark.

Italy’s Marcello Lippi dropped a star player he long managed, the
Netherlands’ Marco van Basten left out the country’s all-time leading
scorer, and Germany’s Juergen Klinsmann named a new captain.

As part of four World Cup 2006 qualifiers and more than a dozen
warmups in Europe on Wednesday, France – also with a new manager –
begins life without Zinedine Zidane; European champion Greece has a
rematch against the Czech Republic; and England’s Sven-Goran Eriksson
is on the touchline for the first time since a sex scandal almost cost
him his job.

European World Cup qualifying begins in Groups One and Three, with
Romania hosting Finland without injured Roma defender Cristian
Chivu. In the other qualifiers, Macedonia faces Armenia, Liechtenstein
takes on Estonia and Slovakia is at home against Luxembourg. Most
European nations begin qualifying Sept. 4. There also are five World
Cup qualifiers in the North and Central American and Caribbean region
on Wednesday.

Lippi, the cigar-smoking former Juventus manager, didn’t pick Juve
forward Alessandro Del Piero for a friendly at Iceland – and he made
no guarantees about his future.

Considered one of the most gifted players in the game, Del Piero has
disappointed in big tournaments, including Euro 2004, where Italy was
eliminated in the first round.

“Del Piero doesn’t have any particular problem,” said Lippi, who
replaced Giovanni Trapattoni. “It’s just that at the moment, I
believe it’s better that he improves his general condition. He’ll be
taken into consideration again once he’s done that.”

Lippi suprised many by adding forward Luca Toni – the Serie B’s
leading scorer last season with Palermo – and Sampdoria’s Francesco
Flachi, a 29-year-old uncapped player.

Striker Christian Vieri, defender Fabio Cannavaro, playmaker Francesco
Totti and another midfielder, Antonio Cassano, all on the Euro 2004
team, are injured.

“This is the national team of this moment,” Lippi said.

Van Basten, who took over from Dick Advocaat, omitted Patrick Kluivert
in selecting a young squad for a friendly at Sweden. Kluivert, with 40
goals in 79 appearances, recently joined England’s Newcastle.

“Kluivert has had a poor preparation for this season and first has to
prove at his club that he’s scoring and that a spot in the squad would
be a logical choice,” Van Basten said.

With Ruud van Nistelrooy hurt, Roy Makaay could start up front for the
first time in more than a year.

Also injured are regulars Philip Cocu and Clarence Seedorf. Speedy
winger Marc Overmars retired after Euro 2004, and defender Jaap Stam
has retired from international competition.

Arsenal’s Robin van Persie and Feyenoord’s Romeo Castelen, both
uncapped, were chosen. The Netherlands reached the Euro 2004

Klinsmann is trying to rebuild a German side eliminated in the first
round of the Euros. Since Rudi Voller left, he’s replaced almost every
official connected to the national team.

One of his first on-field moves was to strip goalkeeper Oliver Kahn of
the captaincy in favor of midfielder and Bayern Munich teammate
Michael Ballack.

Germany, hosting the 2006 World Cup, plays Austria in Vienna.

“I wanted an outfield player as captain, a player who is connected to
all parts of the team and will take the reins in his hands when the
going gets rough,” Klinsmann said.

France’s Raymond Domenech also appointed a new captain – though he
didn’t have much choice. Zidane, the reigning FIFA player of the
year, announced his international retirement last week.

With Arsenal’s Patrick Vieira hurt, veteran keeper Fabien Barthez will
lead the team out in a home friendly against Bosnia-Herzegovina.

“I’m aware that a goalkeeper has already a lot to think about, but
it’s going to be him for this match,” said Domenech, Jacques
Santini’s replacement.

Apart from Zidane, defenders Lilian Thuram, Marcel Desailly and
Bixente Lizarazu have all retired from the national team. The four had
a combined 409 caps.

France, as one of the favorites, was eliminated in the first round at
World Cup 2002 and in the quarterfinals at Euro 2004.

Greece stunned soccer by winning the tournament in Portugal, downing
the Czech Republic 1-0 in the semifinals before edging the host in the

Greece coach Otto Rehhagel will be without defender Traianos Dellas in
Prague because of injury. The Czechs won’t have European footballer of
the year Pavel Nedved and fellow midfielder Vladimir Smicer, who also
are hurt for the friendly.

England didn’t change coaches – barely. Eriksson faced criticism from
the British press when it was revealed he and Football Association
chief executive Mark Palios had affairs with a 38-year-old FA
secretary. Palios eventually resigned, although Eriksson was cleared
of any wrongdoing by the FA earlier this month.

England hosts Ukraine in another warmup.

“If we don’t succeed this time, the knives will be out,” captain
David Beckham said about upcoming World Cup qualifying.

Luis Aragones manages Spain for the first time, against Venezuela in
Las Palmas. Aragones, hired to replace Inaki Saez following Spain’s
first-round exit at Euro 2004, included Arsenal’s 20-year-old forward
Jose Reyes.

08/17/04 09:28 EDT

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

BAKU: Azeri Foreign Minister Off to Moscow to Discuss Karabakh


MPA news agency, Baku
17 Aug 04


Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov began his official
visit to Russia today (17 August). Prior to his departure from Baku,
Mammadyarov told MPA news agency that during his stay in Moscow (till
19 August) he will have meetings with his Russian counterpart, Sergey
Lavrov, high-ranking officials from the Russian State Duma and the
presidential administration and with representatives of the
Azerbaijani diaspora. A news conference will be held at the end of the

The Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict and Russia’s activities as a
co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group will be the main topic of the
talks, Mammadyarov said. He will raise the issue of the military
exercises staged by Armenia in the occupied territory of Nagornyy
Karabakh. The sides will exchange views on regional issues, terrorism,
drug trafficking and illegal migration and consider plans for holding
a Year of Azerbaijan in Russia in 2005.

BAKU: Mann: Karabakh Mediators Not to Recognize Armenia as Aggressor


Azad Azarbaycan TV, Baku
17 Aug 04

(Presenter) The US co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group, Steven Mann,
has made a bizarre statement. In an interview with Azartac news
agency, Mann said that recognition of Armenia as an aggressor was not
relevant to the Minsk Group’s mission. In addition, Mann stressed that
they made no differences between the occupier and the occupied.

(Correspondent, over Mann’s archive footage) Illegal elections in
Nagornyy Karabakh (to local government bodies on 8 August) will not
have an impact on the conflict settlement within the framework of the
OSCE Minsk Group, Mann said. Recalling the US stance on these
elections, Mann added that his country did not recognize Nagornyy
Karabakh as an independent entity and backed Azerbaijan’s territorial
integrity. But he said that recognition of Armenia as an aggressor was
not relevant to the Minsk Group’s mission. Wishes of all people in the
region should be taken into consideration while settling the Karabakh
conflict, Mann said. He added that the Minsk Group did not side with
anybody because the international community had not authorized the
Minsk Group to act as a judge, end quote.

Mann once again called on the sides to the conflict not to expect the
mediators to perform miracles. He said that the settlement of the
problem depended not on the mediators, but on Azerbaijan and
Armenia. That is why, Mr Mann believes that Azerbaijani President
Ilham Aliyev’s decision to take part in the peace process is correct
and based on Azerbaijan’s national interests.

Speaking on the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, Mann admitted that
the Washington government had been surprised at the delay in the
construction of the pipeline’s Georgian section. He said that this
issue had been widely discussed during Georgian President Mikheil
Saakashvili’s visit to the USA. Mann expressed his satisfaction with
the resumption of the construction. Mr Mann added that he was against
linking the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline with
the settlement of the Nagornyy Karabakh conflict. This project has
nothing to do with the settlement of the Nagornyy Karabakh conflict,
he said. Mann added that the oil pipeline reflected the South
Caucasus’ economic realities, but not political ones, end quote.

Qalib Sukurov, for “Son Xabar” programme.

AGBU to open a new scholl in Yerevan

Aug 17 2004


YEREVAN, AUGUST 17, ARMENPRESS: Armenian General Benevolent Union
(AGBU) is planning to open “Melkonian educational center”, a youth
complex in Yerevan in the coming years. The school may host up to 200
students from around the world. AGBU Armenian representation director
Ashot Ghazarian told Armenpress that Diaspora Armenians will learn
Armenian language, literature and history which will contribute to
preservation of Armenian identity and Armenian education. According
to Ghazarian, many young Armenians from around the globe will make
contacts with motherland and communicate with national values. “Of
coarse, this is not a tourism program, the focus is on education,”
Ghazarian said.
The educational establishment will be equipped with modern
technology with lingo-phone and computer auditoriums. University aged
students may continue their education at local Armenian higher
educational establishment as well as at American and French
Universities here in Yerevan. Ashot Ghazarian informed that they are
negotiating with Yerevan municipality to provide facilities for that
purpose. The project will be funded by AGBU.
The project has been discussed with president Kocharian, chairman
and members of writers’ house, Yerevan state university rector Radik
Martirossian and minister of education and science Sergo Yeritsian.

Assumption of the mother of God

Aug 17 2004


ANTELIAS, AUGUST 17, ARMENPRESS: On August 15 all the Armenian
Churches in the world celebrate the Assumption of the Holy Mother of
God (Verapokhoum). Although in modern Armenian Verapokhoum means
change again, in Classical Armenian it means transport up. For
fifteen years after the Crucifixion Mary remained in Jerusalem under
the watchful eyes of the apostles, especially John to whom she had
been entrusted. When she died all of the apostles were present at her
burial, except Bartholomew. When he returned to Jerusalem he went to
her grave to pay his respects. The apostles gathered in the cemetery,
but when the gravestone was lifted, they were surprised to find that
her body was not there, instead there was an exceeding sweet
fragrance. It was believed that Mary was physically taken into
heaven. Based on this the church fathers established the Feast of the
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Blessing of the Grapes, although not connected with the
Assumption, is generally commemorated on the same day. First the
special hymn of the day is sung, then passages from the Gospel are
read, after which the prayer pertaining to the blessing of grapes,
which was composed by Catholicos Nerses is read. In this prayer it is
mentioned that on the third day of Creation, God created the
fruit-yielding trees and vegetation on earth. The prayer seeks the
blessing of God to be bestowed on those who give the first yield of
their vineyards as gifts to the church, and asks the Lord to protect
the crops and gardens from harm. After the prayers, the grapes are
blessed and distributed to the congregation.
On Saturday 14 August 2004, The Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia
celebrated the feast of the Holy Virgin Mary’s Assumption. The
Catholicosate also celebrated the pilgrimage day of St. Mary’s
Armenian Monastery in Bikfaya, Lebanon, site of the summer residence
of the Catholicos, and also site of the Seminary. A celebration
dating from 1952, when the Chapel was consecrated in the name of St.
Since the first year of his Pontificate (1995), His Holiness Aram
I has emphasized the importance of the feast as a special day of
spiritual renewal, and especially the pilgrimage day as the day of
the youth. This year, along with thousands of faithful, youths from
many of the Armenian youth organizations walked from Antelias to
Bikfaya as pilgrims of St. Mary’s Monastery, where they joined His
Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of Cilicia, who presided over the
Thousands of people attended the Divine Liturgy which was
celebrated in the courtyard of the monastery. His Holiness delivered
his pontifical message to the faithful. This year His Holiness
focused his message on the importance of family. Family is the basis
of society. I cannot imagine, spiritually and morally healthy
society, without the family. I cannot imagine an organized and
credible society without the family. Indeed the family remains an
important point of reference, in any society. That is why we as
Catholicos declared this year as the Year of Family. We consider the
family, in a sense, the extension of the church, of the school, of
our homeland. It is in and through the family that the foundation of
Christian formation and Armenian education is laid down. Therefore a
crucial role is given to the Armenian family. It is called to
preserve and promote our Armenian Christian values and tradition in
the context of a world which constantly question the credibility and
relevance of spiritual and moral values. We must, therefore, preserve
the integrity; the credibility of the Armenian Family said His
Following the Divine Liturgy, the ceremony of blessing of grapes
and Madagh took place headed by His Holiness Aram I.