Tag Archives: Aruba

WBC Report 6: In defence of Cuban baseball

A single picture is often worth 1000-plus words. The true status of Cuban baseball.

A single picture is often worth 1000-plus words. The true status of Cuban baseball?

Cuba fell short in the World Baseball Classic, writes PETER C. BJARKMAN*, but it is now the only country playing in the Classic with only its home-grown and home-trained national talent. “There are many of us on the outside of Cuba looking in whose love of Cuban baseball is not tied solely to winning… they are the last vestige of a pure baseball – a sport that is still sport and not big business or staged television entertainment, a game played for passion and not merely for dollars.” 

WBC.2013.logo(March 12, 2013 from Tokyo, Japan) – FOR MANY it was the most devastating among a slew of painful eleventh-hour losses for recent editions of the once dominant but now somewhat tarnished Cuban national team. There have been many such defeats in recent years – the 2008 Olympic finals (versus Korea) in Beijing; the 2009 World Cup finale (USA) in Nettuno; the 2010 Pre-Mundial championship setback (with the Dominicans) in San Juan; and the final-edition 2011 World Cup gold medal loss (Netherlands) in Panama. These defeats reflect little more than the new world order of international baseball, where talented but no longer untouchable Cuban teams are now forced play against some of the best young stars (and even seasoned veterans) drawn from North American professional ball clubs; the near misses do not (despite all the ceaseless wailings in the Cuban press) signal any major failings of the Cuban baseball system itself, or any catastrophic drop-off in the level of Cuban talent. This year’s Cuban Classic team showcased more top-level young prospects than any island squad of the past decade. True there was a visible shortage of normally strong Cuban pitching in the end, but the final reality is that we no longer live in 1970s or ‘80s world, in which each opponent quakes and crumbles in the presence of the once unrivaled Cuban arsenal. Continue reading

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