14ymedio, Havana, May 30, 2023 — To the streak of bad news for Cuban baseball is added that the 62nd National Series “will not have an All-Star Game.” Nor will the Gala of awarding the most outstanding athletes be held. According to the national baseball commissioner, Juan Reinaldo Pérez Pardo, in the face of the “current situation” on the Island, it is proposed to “reward” the first three places and the leaders of the tournament.
“What happened confirms that the current edition of the veteran championship has arrived full of problems that hinder its performance,” published Play-Off Magazine. “The All-Star Game was a recognizable and important part of Cuban baseball, which continues to assume debts in terms of generating spectacle and attracting an audience,” it stressed.
The sport, declared in 2021 as part of Cuba’s cultural heritage, is in decline both in the organizational part and in the sport. Throughout this tournament, the failures of the TeamMate company of Riccardo Fraccari, president of the World Baseball and Softball Confederation (WBSC) and close to Antonio, son of Fidel Castro, have been denounced. First were the delays in the delivery of the uniforms and then the spelling errors in the names that delayed the start of the Elite League.
TeamMate also went wrong with the delivery of the balls — only half were sent — so the authorities had to use some of the Batos brand, which the official media Cubadebate clarified “are not made in Cuba.” They acquired them from a supplier abroad who agreed to give them the name of the national brand.
In addition, these balls from the Italian company are sold to the Island at 12 dollars each; that is, more than double the cost of one of the Rawlings brand, which is the official ball of the Major Leagues, or the one from the Franklin Sports company.
There are also problems with the bats. In the match of the Elefantes de Cienfuegos against the Gallos de Sancti Spíritus on May 23, the players ran out of bats just a few minutes after the game began.
Pérez Pardo, who is also the president of the Cuban Baseball Federation (FCB), pawned off the bat problem on Monday. The National Baseball Commission (CNB) “found that the responsibility did not fall on the direction of the local team.” According to the manager, the delivery of 40 bats was fulfilled, but each territory must take care of the rest.
While the Island is experiencing the crisis, some baseball players continue to take advantage of opportunities to emigrate. Left-handed pitcher Oscar Hernández took a flight to the United States. According to journalist Francys Romero, “he arrived by way of family reunification.”
Hernández participated in four National Series with an average effectiveness of 4.47 in the 61 National Series with Villa Clara. In 86.2 innings he scored 63 strikeouts. “He was one of the figures in the Under-23 National Championship won by Villa Clara against Santiago de Cuba. He has good secondary pitches, and his straight can reach 90 miles,” Romero published in FR Baseball!
On Monday, it was also confirmed that baseball player Luis Manuel León reached an agreement with the Saint Louis Cardinals and will receive a signing bonus close to one million dollars. “He runs 60 yards in 6.3 seconds, above-average arm,” Romero said. The athlete also has “solid batting with “swing” speed to the three parts of the field.”
Translated by Regina Anavy
COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 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.