Cuban Elite League Baseball Games are Postponed for Lack of Uniforms

“The million dollar question is, ‘why and who authorized the FCB to enter into a contract for the uniforms with a foreign company?'” asked readers of Cubadebate. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 7 October 2022 — There were doubts about the timing of the 1st Cuban Baseball’s Élite League, set to begin on Saturday, October 8, but its suspension, announced just 24 hours ahead of the games, came out of nowhere. The teams’ uniforms, imported as are so many things on the island, did not arrive in time so the National Baseball Commission (CNB) was forced to postpone the event.

“Amid sustained efforts we explored several alternatives; it seemed we would receive the shipment on Thursday, but in the end it was not possible due to inconveniences in the transportation sphere,” explained the organization in a statement shared by the official sports press.

The CNB shared that it has worked with the Teammate brand to produce the clothing, a company with which they point out they have been working for years. The company, based in San Marino in Europe, is an affiliate of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) and provides uniforms, bats, gloves, and all kinds of equipment for baseball and softball.

On Friday, the Federation will host a meeting in Bayamo, the capital of Granma province, where the tournament was expected to be held, to finalize the team rosters and “other details related to the event,” for which a new date has not been decided. Furthermore, an awards gala will be held for the most recent National Series.

The Élite League had caused a stir, even among the official press. Its creation was announced in July, and at the time it was explained that the intention was for it to be an amateur tournament where the greatest talents of the National Series would be on display. As of now, there are six teams — Tabacaleros, Portuarios, Centrales, Ganaderos, Agricultores y Cafetaleros [Tobacco Companies, Dock Workers, Centrals, Ranchers, Farmers and Coffee Growers] — and according to the state press, not even their names are well received.

From its October start date, it should run through December 11, in a regular season to determine the semifinalists for games between December 17 and 27 and the finals which would take place from January 7th to the 17th next year. Each team should have 32 players and 13 managers.

Just this week, Joel García León, a sports journalist, deputy editorial director of the newspaper Trabajadores [Workers], and a professor at the José Martí International Journalism Institute in Havana published a column which was skeptical of the event. In his opinion, the idea was a good one, but its execution not so much, and the article titled Un batazo con algunas dudas (A swing with some doubts), concluded, “I am in favor of an Élite League in Cuba (…), but from the beginning this one has been associated with names that are not attractive to the teams and without a resolution for some of the issues presented here. I sense that we’ll start off on the wrong foot. And that costs money and the cost will be borne by the people.”

Yesterday, Thursday, before the delay had been announced, the Sancti Spíritus daily Escambray also published a column in which it raised doubts that a new tournament could generate enthusiasm among people who leave empty seats in the stands of the National Series. The author also expressed her uneasiness over Cuba’s capacity to retain players; a day without a player fleeing the country would be newsworthy.

“It is true that you can’t make a living just yearning, also because the equivalent of several teams have left us via the emigration ’volcanoes-route,’ including members who had already been announced for the event that is about to begin,” she alluded.

However, Cubans are less worried about the postponement of the tournament ,which didn’t appear to interest anyone, than about the fact that the uniforms had been contracted out to a foreign company, as reflected in the comments from Cubadebate readers, who do not seem to believe what they read.

“The million dollar question is why and who authorized the Cuban Baseball Federation (FCB) to contract foreign companies for the uniforms when we have micro, small, and medium enterprises and national entrepreneurs who could make them using better raw materials and better designs than those ’things’,” claimed one. “A league to be forgotten, with imported uniforms amid a crisis. What name shall we give it?” responded another user.

“Oh, because we are also incapable of making uniforms?” said another stupefied user. And others go further and request for heads to roll. “They should review this and if they did not solicit bids within the country, they should all be fired.”

Translated by: Silvia Suárez


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.