Revolutionary Baseball Must Die

If conditions in stadiums and players’ lives improved a little, baseball would not be saved, but it would be a respite. (Cubadebate)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Ernesto Santana, Chicago, 27 November 2019 — The actor Alexis Valdés has commented on the social networks that, as he was told, the Communist Party has provided the humorists with a great joke: “Compañeros, we need to be criticized.” And also macabre joke, of course, like the cat’s joke on the mice.

A journalist from Cubadebate, a notable spokesperson for the Party, has alluded to another feline by stating that Cuban baseball should recover “the eye of the tiger,” because “the cat’s eyes contain previous experience, precise calculation, strength, courage, creativity, desires, intelligence, ambition and respect.”

They want to make us believe that the announced popular consultation, asking for suggestions on how to raise the quality of baseball has as its objective that Cuban baseball recovers “the eye of the tiger.” That is, the cat asks the mice to give their opinion on how the power play between both parties can be improved. Seriously.

When the national sport sinks into its historical nadir, the manager tries a play that generates sympathy at first sight, but the history of the consultations promoted by the Government only leads one to think that there is already a decision; that this survey is part of the authoritarian rhetoric with which each thread moves and the dramaturgy that inevitably precedes an imposition.

It is intended that we believe that the players matter, that there is a will to fix the mess and that what is wanted in the first place is to save the great national spectacle. As always, the induced hallucination of “the great reform.” And the figurehead of that campaign is the new national baseball director, Ernesto Reynoso.

“The most important thing is to achieve consensus. To unite the Cuban baseball family,” hammers the manager, stressing that “proposals that contribute to the gradual development” of that sport are sought. The consulting commission will travel throughout the country holding a couple of daily meetings. What profundity.

In addition to the flippancy of a survey that will tell us what everyone already knows, it is striking that Cuba is debating the takeoff, with an itinerary that specifies the landing site. To declare that there is interest on the part of the authorities for “popular wisdom” is a cynical propaganda trick to put a drop of “democracy” in the air freshener.

When the call to the consultation ensures that “magic solutions” are not wanted, we have already been given the key: for the great manager in the shade it is vital that there are no essential changes. The game remains the same. Entrenched. It is played like this or not played.

Anyone who thinks that this maneuver exposes the inability of sports management to solve the problems must take into account that this inability has been in sight for a long time and that the Government does not flinch, because it will never accept that it must stop handling the destiny of baseball.

It is true that without financial resources and without the essential contribution of the greatest Cuban players abroad, this sport will never return to the previous high level, especially if baseball is already being played around the world in a very different dimension from that which existed when Cuba shone in the international stadiums.

Then this government order arrives, with its tactical manner of exploring and continuing the dilatory game while beginning to apply its crooked concept of marketing, propagating a “solution” that, although still invisible, has already been cooked up in the Party’s boiler.

The worst part is that our baseball is in such a critical condition that almost any arrangement means extending the agony. If conditions in stadiums and players’ lives improved a little, baseball would not be saved, but it would be a respite. If the Government gave the national sport to the military businessmen — a move that would be successful with its raptor and sectarian logic — it would be a longer relief.

What does not exist is a cure for this patient. The so-called revolutionary baseball must die and give way to the usual baseball, which is the only real one. “The only solution that sport needs is freedom and they know it,” an anonymous commentator wrote in the news. “Another story to beat around the bush,” says another. “Why waste time, why go crazy,” asks a third, if “our love has been lost like a shooting star?”

And everyone knows that. What is really wrong is not to have lost “the eye of the tiger,” but to maintain what caused the loss: the eye of the master, who fears the tiger of reality.


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