Departures, Blackouts and Rain Are a Curse for the Elite Baseball League in Cuba

The fourth game between the Sancti Spíritus and Matanzas teams was suspended due to a blackout in the stadium. (Maikel Martín)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 17 November 2023 — A blackout due to an electrical failure in two lighting towers of the José Antonio Huelga stadium forced the fourth game between Sancti Spíritus and Matanzas, as a part of the subseries of the II Elite League, to be suspended this Thursday. The start of the match had been delayed by the rain, which has affected the Island in recent days.

The game was suspended when the epirituanos had the advantage of a run. “The agreement was that they would pitch: the right-handed Albert Valladares for the Gallos and the left-hander Denis Quesada for the Crocodilos,” journalist Maikel Martín Gallego told the official newspaper Escambray. The match will resume when the Yayabo team visits the Victoria stadium in Girón, Matanzas, the Athens of Cuba, he says.

The rain also forced the reprogramming of last Tuesday’s game between the Leones de Industrialies and the Avispas of Santiago de Cuba, which will take place at the Guillermón Moncada stadium, journalist Boris Luis Cabrera Acosta reported on his social networks.

In recent days, the Santiago capital suffered heavy rainfall that affected the east of the Island and left severe damage in the neighboring province of Holguín.

Cuban baseball is experiencing a nightmare to which the curse of blackouts has also been added, although this was predictable. Despite the constant power outages suffered on the Island, national commissioner Juan Reinaldo Pérez Pardo announced at the beginning of this month that games would begin from 6:30 in the evening, with the exception of the 26 de Julio stadium in Artemisa, where the matches are scheduled at 1:30 pm.

The rain also forced the reprogramming of last Tuesday’s game between the Leones de Industriales and the Avispas de Santiago

Cuban baseball hasn’t managed to exorcise the evils left by the escape of athletes, which is reflected in the local tournament. The second edition of the Elite League was unattractive for 24 players who declined to participate for different reasons before its start on November 7, while another 20 athletes were dropped.

The incentive that the winner of the tournament will represent Cuba in the Antillean Cup of Puerto Rico is no longer enough. The posture of the athletes had repercussions. Pérez Pardo, from the Baseball Federation of Cuba and the director of the Elite League, Carlos Martín, warned that with respect to “those athletes who do not want to play in the League or another national tournament, their attitude will be taken into consideration when we form a national team.”

Athletes prefer to leave the Island in the search to sign with a major league club in the United States. This was the case of Cuban picher Marlon Vega, who a few weeks ago traveled to Mexico and this week signed a contract with the Mayos de Navojoa in the Pacific League.

Leodan Reyes, who asked for his leave from baseball last year, reached an agreement on Sunday with the Washington Nationals. According to journalist Francys Romero, the native of Pinar del Río will receive a bonus of $60,000 when he signs his contract on January 15.

Without figures of brilliance and luster, the Cuban fans have shown their apathy by being absent from the stands in the II Elite League. “After each inning, the stadiums seem to sigh with a notorious absence, giving the final touches to an unusual landscape that invites reflection,” Play-Off Magazine published. “The decision not to go to the stadium is an echo of dissatisfaction, a mute cry that reverberates through the corridors, reminding us that baseball is more than a game: it is a symbolic pact between the stands and the sacred ground.”

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.