Cuban Baseball Continues To Decline After the Departure of Three Players and Two Who Resign

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 12 May 2023 — In the last 72 hours, the departures from Cuba of players Edelvis Pérez, Ernesto Santi and Roberto Peña were recorded. According to journalist Francys Romero, the three boarded flights to the Dominican Republic. “The current political and economic situation continues to push young talents and their families to look for new paths outside the Island,” the journalist published in Béisbol FR!

The sport, declared as part of Cuba’s cultural heritage in 2021, is receiving a “beating” due to the desertions and the various requests for dismissal of Cuban team athletes. “The National Series is feeling very closely the fateful result of this migration,” Romero stressed.

The image of the mythical Latin American Stadium, in Havana, almost empty, is the most representative of this crisis. It was shared on Facebook on Wednesday by Granma reporter Aliet Arzola Lima.

Magdiel Gómez asked for his dismissal and is preparing to leave the Island. (Facebook/Dairon Perez Urbano)

“There are barely 100 people counting guards, peanut sellers, press, commissioners, baseball players unable to play today and policemen.” That day Industriales and Granma played, but the match between “the flagship team of Cuban baseball and the national champion” did not attract fans. “The picture of a sport considered a Patrimony of the Nation is regrettable,” he concluded.

Journalist Mario Luis Reyes, based in Madrid (Spain), commented in Arzola’s publication that “the Cuban political and economic system, extremely rigid and centralized, is a failure” and that everything else is its consequence. “Handling baseball players and other athletes on the Island wouldn’t have to be unsustainable. There, the only unsustainable thing is the system, and each of the last 30 years has demonstrated it.”

Francys Romero said that Cuban baseball is the protagonist of “an uneven competition, old and without an audience” and lamented that “what used to be a competition full of brilliance now seems to be an old Development League in comparison to world talent.”

The lack of expectations on the Island pushed right-handed pitcher Edelvis Pérez to travel to the Dominican Republic. The athlete participated in seven games of the National Under-18 Youth Championship with Sancti Spíritus. He has a powerful arm and throws on average at 90 mph.

Left-handed outfielder Ernesto Santi had an acceptable performance in the last National Series with Granma. In 137 innings he made one error. With these two athletes, “there are already more than 150 players who have left in the last two years,” according to data collected by Romero.

Before these young people, Roberto Peña left Cuba. He was one of the members of the U-15 team in 2022 during the Pre-World Cup in Venezuela, then in the World Cup of the category that took place in Mexico, where they won second place.

With the departure of Peña, there are 11 players in the U-15 category who have emigrated from the Island in less than a year. Before Peña, there were Alejandro Prieto, Segian Pérez, Ernest Machado, Dulieski Ferrán, Alex Acosta, Jonathan Valle, Christian de Jésus Zamora, Ronald Terrero, Danel Reyes and Yosniel Menéndez.

Alexander Valiente made public his request to leave baseball. (Image Captura/Newspaper Venceremos)

Others are packing their suitcases to emigrate. Last Wednesday, commentator Dairon Perez Urbano confirmed that the baseball player of the Villa Clara team, Magdiel Gómez, requested his dismissal from baseball.

Pitcher Alexander Valiente also requested his discharge and made it public on his social networks. “I have decided not to play anymore for now; please don’t ask me for explanations.”

“This young man has very good speed, and according to the specialists, great talent that he will have to mold if he decides to continue his career in other leagues or at another level,” Por la Goma published. “The truth of all this is that the casualties of athletes are happening almost daily and more in baseball, where the relationship of quality to pay and inflation is undoubtedly the biggest trigger.”

Translated by Regina Anavy


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.