Baseball Player Yuniot Ibarra and Promising Player Eduardo Mustelier, Only 11, Opt for Careers Outside Cuba

Eduardo Mustelier, 11 years old, is in the Dominican Republic to play baseball. (@francysromeroFR)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 8 September 2023 — The regime still hadn’t digested the escape of volleyball player Ellemay Santa Miranda in Quebec when it became known that Cuban catcher Yunior Ibarra also decided to stay in Canada. Journalist Francys Romero reported on his social networks that the native of Sancti Spíritus broke with the Cuban Baseball Federation (FCB) after finishing his season in the Intercondados Semi-professional League of Ontario. Behind Ibarra’s decision, according to the sports media Swing Completo, could have been his “exclusion” from the national team that participated in the last V World Baseball Classic.

This Thursday Ibarra, 28, was due to be with the Cuban pre-selection that trains at the Latin American Stadium in Havana for the Pan American Games in Chile 2023. However, he decided not to board the plane back to the Island, a decision that was also made by his colleagues Raúl González, Yamichel Pérez and Yadián Martínez.

The four athletes arrived in the North American country as part of the players hired last May by the Kitchener Panthers team. Ibarra was on the list of 25 players whose participation in foreign teams had already been negotiated last May by the FCB. His abandonment is in addition to that of Javier Mirabal, who last July decided to continue his career as an independent baseball player with the Mexican club Toros de Tijuana.

With the Kitchener Panthers, Yunior Ibarra participated in 43 games, the last of them on September 5 against the Canadian team Barrie BayCats. In his personal record he achieved a batting average of .276, had 22 runs and 26 runs batted in, in addition to connecting three home runs.

Catcher Yunior Ibarra was hired last May by Kitchener’s Panthers team. (Escambray)

Ibarra was with the Gallos de Sancti Spíritus in ten National Series on the Island and the Ganaderos team in the Elite League. His batting average was .219; he drove in 135 runs and got six home runs.

This Thursday, reporter Francys Romero said that, at only 11 years of age, baseball player Eduardo Mustelier is in the Dominican Republic. Last May, the boy participated in the Under-12 World Cup that was held in Aguascalientes (Mexico).

“This demonstrates the desperation with which one lives in Cuban society,” the journalist stressed. “The emigration of baseball players to Quisqueya (Dominican Republic) thus touches one of its youngest players since it became systematic.”

Despite his young age, Mustelier’s long swing has caught the attention of the headhunters. “You have to keep in mind that he’s only a child, but he looked superior to the rest in skills such as defense, runs and arm,” Romero said.

The frequent loss of professional players and promising young baseball players in Cuba keeps the FCB in crisis, which no longer knows how to prevent the escape of its athletes who are looking for better contracts in foreign leagues. During the last year, 15 of the 20 players who made up the national team for the Under-15 World Cup left the Island.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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