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)
Sunday, November 29, 2015
Mr. Burns, I think we can trust the President of Cuba…..
More than half a century has passed since the Havana Sugar Kings, a Cincinnati Reds affiliate, played in the Class AAA International League. Since the giddy gunfire of followers of the revolutionary Fidel Castro grazed a shortstop and a third-base coach at a game against the Rochester Red Wings. Since Havana won the 1959 Little World Series against the Minneapolis Millers here at home.
The notion of returning to those days, absent the gunfire, may sound like pie in the sky, given the longstanding American embargo against Cuba. But President Obama and the Cuban president, Raúl Castro, announced plans last December to restore full diplomatic ties — a first hesitant step toward normalizing relations — and some see a chance for an exemption from the embargo: a baseball “carve-out.”
What’s more, this group’s enthusiastic leader, a veteran minor league executive named Lou Schwechheimer, has spent the last dozen years preparing for just such a moment.
Sunday, November 22, 2015
The Dodgers have reportedly landed a pair of Cuban teenagers, with a $15.5 million deal for outfielder Yusniel Diaz and $6 million for infielder Omar Estevez, per Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com.
Joyful Calculus Instructor
Posted: November 22, 2015 at 07:20 PM | 4 comment(s)
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