Research out of George Washington University by Profession Jeffrey P. Blomster has shed light on the significant role that a ubiquitous rubber-ball-based sport (the Aztecs called it ōllamaliztli) played in pre-Columbian societies. Quoth the don: "We know that there were earlier versions of a ballgame prior to the Early Horizon (ed: roughly 1700 to 1400 BC) with both a ballcourt and rubber balls found in coastal Chiapas and the Gulf Coast, the but institutionalized version of the ballgame, a hallmark of Mesoamerican civilizations, developed during the Early Horizon."
The reason that Blomster's research is a big deal is that he's found evidence of the ballgame being played by the ancient Mixteca people, which means that there were stronger ties between the Mixtecs and the larger pre-Columbian scene in central America. This is actually pretty interesting news in and of itself, but I was more interested to read that the ballplayers themselves wore getups that symbolized some pretty heavy stuff: themes of mortality, underworld deities, astral bodies, stuff like that and oh by the way, the playing court itself may have represented a portal to the underworld, a hellmouth if you will.
Let's go ahead and make the very obvious connections between this research and the Marlins' home run sculpture. You might have thought the picture on this post was a snip from the Codex Borgia. It's not. I stole it from Jeffrey Loria's Pinterest. The Mayan thing is a smokescreen, just maybe. I'm keeping one eye on Little Havana. #buygold #2012
H/T to Science Daily for bringing this to our attention.