Monday, March 28, 2016
Could the likes of Jose Abreu, Yoenis Cespedes and Yasiel Puig play on the Cuban national team at next year’s World Baseball Classic?
“Everything is on the table,” Cuban baseball commissioner Heriberto Suárez said in Spanish, when asked about the possibility in Havana during this week’s historic trip by President Obama, Major League Baseball and the Tampa Bay Rays.
Suárez went on to explain that any such arrangement would need to be part of a new, overall working agreement among the Cuban and American governments, MLB and the MLB Players Association.
While the sides aren’t close to reaching any deal, it’s noteworthy that the Cuban baseball federation would consider welcoming back defectors to the national team in any circumstance.
Posted: March 28, 2016 at 09:42 AM | 7 comment(s)
Monday, March 21, 2016
From Estadio Latinoamericano….
TAMPA BAY (Matt Moore) at CUBA (Yosvani Torres). 2 PM (w/pre-game apparently starting at least at 1:30 PM). ESPN.
Posted: March 21, 2016 at 09:42 PM | 20 comment(s)
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
President Barack Obama’s administration punched a new series of holes in the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba on Tuesday, turning a ban on U.S. tourism to Cuba into an unenforceable honor system and paving the way for more Cuban athletes to one day play Major League Baseball and other U.S. professional sports.
Major League Baseball is negotiating with both the U.S. and Cuban government to create a legal means for Cuban baseball players to play in the U.S. without having to abandon their country, eliminating the need for some of the world’s priciest baseball talent to use human traffickers to get to the major leagues.
Monday, March 07, 2016
President Obama’s historic trip to Cuba later this month will include some baseball diplomacy, the White House said Tuesday.
The president will attend a March 22 exhibition baseball game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team during his brief trip to the island nation. The restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba and the reopening of the U.S. Embassy after more than 50 years has been touted by the White House as a key part of Obama’s foreign-policy legacy.
Wednesday, March 02, 2016
Commissioner Rob Manfred: “Major League Baseball is excited to play in Cuba and to have the Tampa Bay Rays representing our 30 Clubs. During a time of historic change, we appreciate the constructive role afforded by our shared passion for the game, and we look forward to experiencing Cuba’s storied baseball tradition and the passion of its many loyal fans.”
Posted: March 02, 2016 at 06:39 AM | 3 comment(s)
Monday, February 29, 2016
Bring back the Troy Haymakers!
“Mexico is a big country, and parts of it are heavy into baseball,” said Oscar Suarez, an MLB player agent who was born in Cuba, raised in Puerto Rico, and represents multiple Mexican players. “I just don’t know if the general population can afford sustaining a big-league team. It costs a family of four $300 for one game, maybe.
“I’d love to see it happen in Mexico City, yet big sponsors and local ownership would need to be garnered. Plus, the peso devaluation [now at 18 to $1 U.S.] could become an issue. It’s like a roller coaster at times.”
Many in the baseball industry remain skeptical about Mexico’s ability to host a full-time franchise, for economic, political, and security reasons. But the Astros-Padres series is an opportunity for Mexico to begin changing perceptions of its big-league readiness.
Cuba, of course, is the international baseball locale du jour. But it’s almost impossible to envision a Havana-based team in the next decade — even if the U.S. lifts its embargo — because Cuba’s commercial base and overall infrastructure would need years to catch up with the rest of the hemisphere.”
Tuesday, January 05, 2016
This much is clear: 2016 can be a watershed year for baseball’s international growth, if MLB and the MLBPA partner effectively amid collective bargaining negotiations scheduled to begin this spring.
A synopsis of the packed schedule:
● MLB/MLBPA-operated World Baseball Classic qualifying tournaments in Australia, Mexico and Panama in February and March, followed by another in Brooklyn in September.
● a possible trip by the Tampa Bay Rays to Cuba for two exhibition games in March.
● a Houston Astros-San Diego Padres spring training game in Mexico City.
● two regular-season games between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Miami Marlins in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to honor Roberto Clemente Day.
● off the field, ongoing discussions between MLB and the MLBPA about playing a series in London as soon as 2017.
Monday, December 21, 2015
The next day a big game is scheduled in the domestic baseball league, at Havana’s rickety 55,000-seat Latin American Stadium. It pits the hometown Industriales, Cuba’s answer to the New York Yankees, against a visiting club from nearby Matanzas. A few years ago the stands would have been packed. But today the outfield bleachers are empty, and only the rows of seats closest to the action appear even half-full. Bored-looking police drag on cigarettes. A group of hometown fans tries to rouse the crowd by blaring on hand-held air horns, but it is well short of critical mass.
One reason for the apathetic mood is that the government has banned alcohol sales in stadiums to stop fights. A bigger problem is the poor quality of the play. Last year 11 Industriales players left for the United States; Matanzas lost ten. Only the weaker players remain, and they are demoralised: runners seem content to jog around the basepaths, and fielders let the ball skip past them on difficult plays. In recognition of the depleted rosters, the Cuban league now disbands half of its teams at mid-season and shares their players among the eight clubs that are doing best.
Interesting article about the current state of besebol in Cuba
Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66)
Posted: December 21, 2015 at 11:37 AM | 7 comment(s)
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
A lineup of Cuban-born baseball stars, including some of the most famous defectors in recent memory, made a triumphant return to the island Tuesday as part of the first Major League Baseball trip here since 1999.
Once the object of official disdain in Cuba for leaving the country illegally, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig, St. Louis Cardinals catcher Brayan Pena and first baseman Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox were swarmed by fans and members of the state media in the lobby of Havana’s soaring Hotel Nacional at the start of a three-day mission meant to warm relations between MLB and Cuba.
The major leagues and Cuban baseball have been moving quickly to rebuild ties since Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro declared a year ago Thursday that they would re-establish diplomatic relations. The official return of baseball defectors earning millions in the major leagues was a landmark in the new relationship and a dramatic manifestation of Cuba’s shifting attitude toward the hundreds of players who have abandoned the country that trained them….
Peter Bjarkman, author of the upcoming book “Cuba’s Baseball Defectors: The Inside Story,” said that he had counted 102 national-level players who had left Cuba this year, nearly a third of all those who have departed since 1980. The departures are part of a broader wave of Cuban emigration sparked by the fear that the U.S. will cancel special Cold War-era privileges for Cubans as part of the new relationship with the island.
“I got the distinct impression that right now the Cubans have absolutely no idea of what they’re going to do. They’re in total chaos in this right now,” said Bjarkman, who spent much of the fall in Cuba speaking with people involved in the country’s baseball league.
Posted: December 16, 2015 at 10:50 AM | 1 comment(s)
Tuesday, December 08, 2015
A good-will tour of Cuba next week by Major League Baseball and its players’ union will include a prominent Cuban player who defected in 2013, a rare concession by a Cuban government that typically denounces such individuals as traitors and bars them from its national team.
The player, Jose Abreu, has established himself as one of baseball’s premier sluggers in his two seasons as the first baseman of the Chicago White Sox. He will be joined on the good-will tour by at least two other Cuban major leaguers: shortstop Alexei Ramirez, who left Cuba in 2007 but has said he does not consider himself a defector, and the journeyman catcher and first baseman Brayan Pena, who left Cuba as a teenager in 1999.
Posted: December 08, 2015 at 08:51 AM | 0 comment(s)
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