Few heads of state have shown as much interest in baseball as Fidel did, pitching and batting himself, celebrating the victories and suffering the defeats | Sigfredo Barros Segrera
(December 7) – It was hard times, in January of 1962. The Revolution was struggling against internal and external enemies who threatened its very existence. The Cuban people defeated one attempt after another to return the country to the past, under the undisputed leadership of Fidel Castro Ruz.
Amidst so many responsibilities as head of the nation, Fidel always found a few moments to devote to sports, which had already begun a transformation the previous year, to become an activity enjoyed by the people on a massive scale. Continue reading →
“This triumph is of great sporting significance, of great psychological significance, of great patriotic significance and of great revolutionary significance.”
These were Fidel’s first words on welcoming home the volleyball players who had won gold medals at the 4th North, Central American, and Caribbean Volleyball Championships in Los Angeles, August 1975. Continue reading →
His fastball has long since died. He still has a few curveballs which he throws at us routinely. – Nicholas Burns, U.S. State Department Spokesman
BY PETER C. BJARKMAN*
(August 18, 2016) – Most baseball fans tend to take their idle ballpark pastimes far too seriously. On momentary reflection, even a diehard rooter would have to admit that big-league baseball’s most significant historical figures – say, Mantle, Cobb, Barry Bonds, Walter Johnson, even Babe Ruth himself – are only mere blips on the larger canvas of world events. After all, 95 per cent (perhaps more) of the globe’s population has little or no interest whatsoever in what transpires on North American ballpark diamonds. Babe Ruth may well have been one of the grandest icons of American popular culture, yet little in the nature of world events would have been in the slightest degree altered if the flamboyant Babe had never escaped the rustic grounds of St. Mary’s School for Boys in Baltimore. Continue reading →
The 1960 meeting in Harlem between Fidel Castro and Malcolm X | Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty images
By REBECCA ONION*
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has recently decided not to stand during the national anthem, wore a Malcolm X hat and a T-shirt featuring images of the leader meeting with Fidel Castro at a press conference where he explained his protest. The T-shirt has, perhaps predictably, drawn criticism from conservative quarters; the Weekly Standard called Kaepernick’s wardrobe choice a “startling display of ignorance,” pointing to what writer Mark Hemingway called Cuba’s human rights abuses and “legacy of racism.” Setting aside an assessment of Castro’s later record on race, and whether it strengthens or undermines Kaepernick’s stance, what’s the story behind those photos, taken a year after the Cuban leader came to power, and five years before Malcolm’s death? Why did the two men meet, and what did they discuss? Continue reading →
CERRO PELADO 50TH ANNIVERSARY | The United States attempted to prevent Cuban athletes from participating in the Central American and Caribbean Games in 1966. Prohibited from arriving by air, the delegation traveled by sea aboard the Cerro Pelado and went on to win 77 medals | Ciro Pérez Hebra*
GABRIEL MOLINA on how US Major League Baseball and the Eisenhower administration sabotaged professional baseball in Cuba for counter-revolutionary aims
Built in 1946, Estadio Latinoamericano, the home of the Havana Sugar Kings, is by far the largest ballpark in Cuba, with a capacity of 55,000. Known as the Colossus of Cerro and Gran Stadium, the entire grandstand is covered, and there are open bleachers in the outfield. It is the home of Los Industriales and the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame | http://ballparkdigest.com/
Not even organized baseball escaped the many-faceted, relentless undeclared war the U.S. government has been waging against Cuba for the last almost half a century.
An alleged incident in Cerro Stadium on June 25, 1959 served as the pretext for Washington to cancel the island’s franchise for the Cuban Sugar Kings, a team in the Triple-A International League, the doorway to Major League baseball. It was not something that happened by chance or casually. Continue reading →