Straight Talk About Cuban Baseball / Fernando Dámaso

baseball logo downloadFernando Damaso, 19 February 2016 — After the foolishness of Cuba baseball at the recent Caribbean Series, plus the poor state of the eight teams participating at this stage in the National Series, “official government” sportswriters don’t agree on how to resolve the catastrophic situation, and even talk and write nostalgically about the good old days when “we were respected and invincible,” forgetting that then our professional players (they were paid their salaries for playing baseball) competed against university students and real amateurs, in a kind of “lion against the tied up monkey.”

There were no professionals from any country on the teams they faced, no one from the Double-A, Triple-A or Major Leagues of the United States. It was a big lie, well seasoned, that served to fool our fanatics and even some from other countries who believed it, and fed political propaganda about the supposed advantages of “revolutionary sports,” versus to profit-based and commercial.

This does not mean that there are not individuals, as in all countries that practice the sport, who have done well in the Major Leagues: some decided to go, went, and did well, and today they are internationally recognized, and others chose to stay, and after repeated National Series or joining some other Cuban team, have had to vegetate with more grief than glory, without any importance and “real baseball.”

Since the “official” ratification of professionalism in Cuba, baseball and other sports, among them boxing, have gone from bad to worse. With the first, we have never been the best, and also with the second where our boxers stew in their own juice, without competing against real world champions for the belts in different divisions, unless they leave the country and are branded as traitors and other similar foolishness. It is no secret to anyone that the current World Series of Boxing, where some of our boxers participate, they do not compete with the best boxers from member countries.

If we want to advance in these sports and others, we have to abandon the “chauvinist purity” of our teams made up only of athletes from the island, and allow them to include others who live abroad and, what’s more, athletes from other countries, like we want ours to do on their teams. This would enrich the national sport and elevate its quality.

The poor current state of sports, added to other internal factors, such as bloated organizational structures, poor work on the base, lack of real size, the obsolete methods of many of our trainers, and prioritizing politics over all other factors. In other words, there is plenty of fat to be cut.