The game between the teams of Japan and South Korea, Cuba’s two strongest rivals, which was played today, Monday morning, was 1 to 0 in favour of South Korea when Japan had only two more chances at bat.
The dangerous and emblematic Ichiro, who had failed three times, connected with a single.
The Japanese manager instructed the second batter –who is, no doubt, a good player- to lay down a bunt, which brought about the ‘out’ number two.
I am sure that our experienced fans, after any elementary analysis, thought that was a mistake.
The Japanese players are excellent; I would like our victory in the baseball Classic to be achieved while confronting that team of great technical expertise.
And that won’t happen if we act carelessly as I saw we did yesterday, Sunday March 8 in the afternoon, during the game between Cuba and South Africa.
Olivera and Paret let themselves be caught by surprise on first base, and Michel Enríquez brought about an ‘out’ with that irrational advance towards second base after connecting a hit, as a result of being pushed perhaps too much by the team leadership to run for a base.
As we all could see, that game could have been won by a knock-out in the seventh inning, with 6 home-runs, two of them by Cepeda, a record in the Classics. That would have enhanced the well-deserved prestige of Cuban sport
I allow myself to make this criticism because those are three extraordinary athletes, with great dignity and self-confidence.
They know they represent a wholesome sport in that world tournament. I should express this with honesty and admiration.
Fidel Castro Ruz
March 9, 2009