Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


Contributors

Jim Furtado
Founder & Publisher
Repoz
Editor - Baseball Primer

Syndicate

Cuban Baseball Newsbeat

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

At 102, Oldest Living Former Major Leaguer Spends Days in Cuba

Marrero was a bright spot on a bad team. He didn’t reach the majors until he was just a few days shy of 39, an age most ballplayers were well into retirement. The Washington journalist Bob Addie once wrote that Marrero “might have become a Hall of Famer had he been plucked at a younger age.”

In just his fifth big league game, Marrero struck out Boston’s Ted Williams with a dancing knuckleball. According to specious news accounts, he patted himself on the chest as he walked off the mound, saying, “Gude. Me want more money.”

Three decades later, a Post reporter visited Cuba and talked to Marrero about facing Williams. He told one of his favorite stories, about another game in which Williams went deep twice. The old pitcher would never forget: once off a slider, once off a knuckler.

“After the game, he put his arm around me under the stands and said, ‘This was my day,’ ” Marrero recalled. “I told Williams, ‘Every day is your day.’ ”

BourbonSamurai Is a Lazy Nogoodnik Posted: March 26, 2014 at 05:10 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: cuban baseball, nationals

Monday, February 10, 2014

A World of His Own: Espn profile of Aroldis Chapman

“IT IS WELL past noon in the mansion they call the American Dream House, and the owner has yet to wake up. Half a dozen friends and relatives sit under an imported Italian chandelier in the living room, watching the hours pass on a silver-plated clock, waiting for Aroldis Chapman to come downstairs. House rules dictate that nobody disturbs him; it is Chapman’s $30 million contract that paid for this house, and it is his singular left arm that brought his family from a coastal province in Cuba to the manicured suburbs of Florida’s gold coast, wher
“We are usually just sitting here, trying to pass the hours,” says Maria Caridad, his mother, speaking in Spanish as the clock closes in on 1 p.m. She mops the kitchen floor even though a crew of six housecleaners performed the same chore a few days earlier. She turns on some salsa music and cooks pigs’ feet on the kitchen stove, leaning over the pot to inhale the familiar smell. “This reminds me of Cuba,” she says. “Of home.”
Across the living room, her husband and Aroldis’ father, Juan Alberto, turns the TV to Channel 374, the only Spanish-language station available on their deluxe cable package. One of Chapman’s assistants has been teaching Juan Alberto some English, hoping to ease the 74-year-old’s transition to the United States, but the lessons fail to solve a bigger problem. “I’m too old to learn, and there’s no one here I need to talk to anyway,” he says, so he settles into the recliner for his third Cuban soap opera of the day.

Every new immigrant in this household has developed an antidote to boredom, and for Aroldis, it is sleep. Midday gives way to early afternoon. Early afternoon turns toward dusk. His parents move outside to sit by the swimming pool, where they study the ornate drapes of his second-story bedroom for any sign of movement. Some days during the offseason, the Reds’ 25-year-old closer stays in his room until sunset, sleeping, watching movies or just throwing a racquetball against his bedroom wall.

Finally, a few minutes before 4 p.m., the curtains lift and Chapman descends the spiral staircase to the pool deck. He wears sandals, sunglasses and a tank top obscured by heavy gold chains. He lights a Marlboro Red cigarette and flops down onto an all-weather mattress near the pool.

“Why so late like this?” Maria Caridad asks. “Why all this sleeping?”

“There’s nothing else to do,” he says.”

BourbonSamurai Is a Lazy Nogoodnik Posted: February 10, 2014 at 12:40 PM | 47 comment(s)
  Beats: cuban baseball, reds

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Badler: Defection Of Top Cuban Outfielder Rusney Castillo Could Shake Up Free Agent Market

Another one of Cuba’s best players has left the island, the latest in a wave of defections that isn’t expected to slow down.

Rusney Castillo, a 26-year-old center fielder who had been one of the top players in Cuba, has left the country to pursue a contract with a major league team, Baseball America has learned.

Castillo has played five seasons for Ciego de Avila in Cuba’s top league, Serie Nacional, so he will be able to sign as a free agent exempt from the international signing bonus pools.

That process could still take several months, since Castillo will have to establish residency in another country, have Major League Baseball declare him a free agent and the U.S. government’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) clear him to sign. Once that process is complete, Castillo should draw interest as a free agent who could either go straight to the majors or get a tuneup in Triple-A before moving up.

Castillo is short but has a strong, athletic frame at 5-foot-9, 185 pounds. His best tool is his speed, as he’s an above-average runner and one of the better base stealers in Cuba. More of a doubles hitter than a big home run threat, Castillo puts a charge into the ball with a line-drive righthanded swing, though he can get long to the ball at times and some scouts think he’s prone to chasing pitches off the plate. Primarily a center fielder in Cuba, Castillo has also played some second and third base, so his versatility could be a draw for some teams. He’s an aggressive, high-energy player, though some teams see him as a fourth outfielder.

When Yoenis Cespedes was in Cuba, Cespedes was the star center fielder on the Cuban national team, with Leonys Martin the up-and-comer. With Cespedes and Martin gone, Castillo stepped in as Cuba’s national team center fielder at the World Cup in October 2011 in Panama. Castillo was a standout at the tournament, hitting .512/.524/.854 in 10 games, going 21-for-41 with two home runs, two triples, four doubles, one walk and two strikeouts. He made the tournament’s all-star team after leading the World Cup in batting average and slugging while ranking fourth in on-base percentage.

H/T Calcaterra

JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: January 23, 2014 at 11:04 AM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: centerfielders, cuba, cuban baseball

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Leonys Martin ransom case detailed

This ain’t no rick roll.

Like many Cuban baseball stars, outfielder Leonys Martin dreamed of leaving the communist island for the bright lights and big money of Major League Baseball.

Martin accomplished his goal in 2011 when he signed with the Texas Rangers, but not before what court documents and the U.S. Justice Department describe as a harrowing ordeal in which he was held for ransom in Mexico while his family members were kept under surveillance in South Florida.

Three people have been indicted in Miami on federal charges of hostage-taking and extortion conspiracy—counts that carry potential life prison sentences if they are convicted—and Martin himself is suing his alleged kidnappers for the return of more than $1.3 million he has already paid them.

Der-K: Hipster doofus Posted: December 25, 2013 at 12:20 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: crime, cuban baseball, international free agents, politics, rangers

 

 

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
JPWF13
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogBryce Harper benched for 'lack of hustle' despite quad injury
(87 - 2:30pm, Apr 20)
Last: Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October

NewsblogJohn Torres: Baseball must bag sickening farewell tours
(34 - 2:27pm, Apr 20)
Last: JE (Jason Epstein)

NewsblogNYT: Sandomir: When Swastikas, on Caps, Meant Luck
(11 - 2:26pm, Apr 20)
Last: TerpNats

NewsblogChase Utley is the hottest hitter in baseball and has a shot at .400
(66 - 2:22pm, Apr 20)
Last: Lance Reddick! Lance him!

NewsblogPirates Acquire Ike Davis From Mets
(44 - 2:17pm, Apr 20)
Last: PreservedFish

NewsblogNY Times: Who Made That Relief Pitcher?
(2 - 2:16pm, Apr 20)
Last: Joyful Calculus Instructor

NewsblogA's, Doolittle agree to 4-year extension
(5 - 2:14pm, Apr 20)
Last: Danny

NewsblogDoug Glanville: I Was Racially Profiled in My Own Driveway
(370 - 2:09pm, Apr 20)
Last: David Nieporent (now, with children)

NewsblogOMNICHATTER for April 20, 2014
(8 - 2:07pm, Apr 20)
Last: Rickey! In a van on 95 south...

NewsblogTim Federowicz has rough night behind the plate - True Blue LA
(9 - 2:03pm, Apr 20)
Last: KT's Pot Arb

NewsblogRaissman: After cheating scandal, former Mets GM Steve Phillips back calling the shots
(8 - 1:59pm, Apr 20)
Last: KT's Pot Arb

NewsblogDaniel Bryan's 'YES!' chant has spread to the Pirates' dugout
(105 - 1:47pm, Apr 20)
Last: Good cripple hitter

NewsblogZander Hollander, Sports Trivia Shepherd, Dies at 91
(5 - 1:32pm, Apr 20)
Last: Publius Publicola

NewsblogOTP April 2014: BurstNET Sued for Not Making Equipment Lease Payments
(1744 - 1:29pm, Apr 20)
Last: Publius Publicola

NewsblogA’s Jed Lowrie “flabbergasted” by Astros’ response to bunt
(24 - 1:27pm, Apr 20)
Last: STEAGLES is all out of bubblegum

Demarini, Easton and TPX Baseball Bats

 

 

 

 

Page rendered in 1.4353 seconds
59 querie(s) executed