Team Cuba salutes fans at San Juan’s Hiram Bithorn Stadium after a 2006 WBC game
By OSCAR SÁNCHEZ SERRA, Special correspondent, Granma
TOKYO.—“Only one person is responsible for the defeat, and that is me, players don’t lose games, I lose them. The coach has the maximum responsibility,” affirmed Víctor Mesa. Continue reading
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.”
(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
By CIRCLES ROBINSON
Holland defeats Cuba 7-6 and moves on to the semifinals of WBC III. The team is composed of West Indian players. Photo: cubadebate.cu
HAVANA TIMES (March 11, 2013) – Team Cuba lost a seesaw do-or-die game to Holland 7-6 on Monday and leaves the third World Baseball Classic unable to advance to the semifinal round, similar to what happened in the last tournament in 2009.
Kaian Sams hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth to give Holland their first ever ticket to a WBC semifinals. Continue reading
By PETER C. BJARKMAN*
(March 9, 2013 from Tokyo, Japan) – IF TEAM CUBA at least temporarily dispelled one myth in Fukuoka on Wednesday (that they could perhaps never learn to hit funky Japanese pitching), they nonetheless failed miserably on Friday afternoon to dismiss yet another pervasive theme (that their new insurmountable hurdle seems to be the talent-rich forces of the Dutch national team). In Panama in September 2011 a Cuban squad managed by Alfonso Urquiola went down harmlessly twice against the Dutch forces (their only two tournament defeats) and thus squandered an opportunity to reclaim an IBAF world title during the final edition of the now-suspended Baseball World Cup. In a Taiwan tune-up late last month Cuban bats were again effectively blanketed by Dutch pitching. At the 2010 Haarlem Baseball Week a Cuban B squad managed by Germán Mesa suffered through the only “mercy rule” drubbing (10-0) suffered by a top-level Cuban outfit in more than four full decades. In brief, The Netherlands (now featuring a host of young big league prospects like Kalian Sams, Andrelton Simmos and Jonathan Schoop) has recently become just as large a thorn in the Cuban side as have the two-time WBC champion Japanese. Continue reading
A review of the first two rounds and some impressions of an international tournament still in its teething stages by CITIUS ALTIUS FORTIUS*
(18 March 2006) – IN THE INAUGURAL edition of baseball’s world championship event, the World Baseball Classic, the semifinal knockout stage begins tonight. Here is a review of the first two rounds and some impressions of an international tournament still in its teething stages. Continue reading