These are days of considerable activity on the domestic and international Cuban baseball scene, although many fans would rather not focus on how things have been going over recent years.
Burdened by an exodus of many of both its most talented novices and more experiences players, the island’s principal competition, the National Series, lacks the star quality that defined it during the closing decades of the last century.
It is undoubtedly within the national selection, “Team Cuba”, that this decline is most clearly reflected, whose standing as favorites to win everything has been gradually ebbing to the point where they finished third in the Pan-American Games and a long way off the podium in the Premier 12.
A dull and seemingly talentless Victor Mesa directed Premier 12 team, knocked out in the quarter-final stages, finishing with a score of 3-3, a minus nine negative run differential and mediocre pitching and batting numbers.
Nevertheless, the game retains center stage in Cuban life and the nation’s players are interested in every corner of the world where the language of balls and strikes is spoken.
This interest will be fed by the recent declarations of Can-Am League Commissioner, Canadian Miles Wolf that Team Cuba would play against teams from the Canadian–American League next June.
Wolf spoke of feeling proud that Cuba’s best players could take part in a series of games that would also coincide with them pitching against an all-star selection from the Japanese island of Shikoku League, an independent Japanese baseball body.
As National Baseball Direction member, Jose Antonio Castillo outlined, participation in the Can-Am league was only a possibility presently under consideration. Wolf’s words confirmed the Canadian authority’s interest in incorporating the Cubans which had been increased by last season’s inclusion of Yunieski Gourriel, Alexi Bell, Yordan Manduley and Ismel Jimenez.
Their interest is accompanied by that of other Caribbean League managers in signing Cuban baseball players who, in the form of the Pinar del Rio team, won the Caribbean Series last February.
U.S. Major League baseball authorities are also chomping at the bit in their desire to play pre-season games in Cuba and to sign-up the country’s hottest talent.
So, in spite of the delicate state of its health just now, Cuban baseball –albeit by virtue of slowly taken and almost unseen steps– Continues to advance and will soon once again set its eyes on the domestic All-Star Game and the second stage of the XLIV National Series.Share on FB Share on TT