Domingo, 19 de Noviembre de 2017
21:53 CET.
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL: THE CUBAN CREW

Three Anti-Communist Notes on the World Series

All-powerful and magnanimous, two days ago the comrades of the Communist Party of Cuba opted to grant us Cubans the chance to watch the World Series, though not live.

It all started with a rumor on the social networks and with an article of incomparable lyricism, mentioning a "fountain of baseball players", "prized product", "celebrated stages", "a renowned contest", in the Party's official publication. 

I have three brief notes to offer on this surprise concession by our comrades.

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First: lyricism aside, the article in question is an excellent indicator of how far the misinformation to which we Cubans have been subjected has come, when the author of it has no choice but to resort to a didactic tone to explain (to us!) what Major League baseball is, how it works, and the attributes that its players must possess. We are told that the Major Leagues are "genuine courts" into which "only the nobility that exhibits the qualities of these human beings, demonstrating pure art, are able to enter". 

***

Second: true to themselves, the comrades decided to broadcast the World Series games, but without explaining certain essential points: will more professional baseball be broadcast in the future in Cuba? What arguments gave rise to this change in television policy? Why were these games not broadcast for decades, when they were of obvious interest to a large part of the population? Who was responsible for depriving us of them? Will anyone be explaining anything? These, and others, are not useless questions. Rather, they are questions whose answers would help to prevent such arbitrary decisions from being made again; questions that, without an explanation, leave us exposed to the danger of broadcasts being suspended as soon as it is deemed expedient, by the same people who now allow them, which is probably what will happen.

***

Third: despite what has been said thus far, the decision to broadcast the World Series games must be applauded. And not only because we Cubans can now watch them, but because if you follow the logic that has led to this decision, if you continue along this path, it should lead to a recognition of that entire "fountain of baseball players", who in the past decided to leave the Island and try their luck on those "celebrated stages" that are the Major Leagues. Their achievements and careers should be rescued, remembered, and upheld by the national press; their photos should be displayed in the bare corridors of national stadiums, their records recorded in the archives, and their names added to the "Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame." Or should they?

Following the road taken two days ago by our beloved comrades, we should end up talking about Tony Pérez (Ciego de Ávila), a member of the MLB Hall of Fame and world champion in 1975 and 1976 with the Cincinnati Reds; and of Luis Tiant, the giant from Marianao who pitched in the Majors for 19 seasons, struck out 2,416 batters, completed 187 games, played in the All-Star Game three times, and had over 4 20-win years; and of Tony Oliva (Pinar del Río), Rookie of the Year in the American League in 1964 and three-time batting champion; and many, many more.

We should talk, of course, of Bárbaro Garbey (Santiago), who escaped in 1980 during the Mariel Boatlift era, and was crowned champion with the Tigers in 1984; and even more, of people like Havana's René Arocha, who debuted with the San Luis Cardinals in 1993 after a long and successful career on the island; and of Orlando "El Duque" Hernández, and his four champion rings, a hero all across the country; and his brother Liván; of Rey Ordoñez and his Gold Gloves; and of Osvaldo Fernández, Ariel Prieto, Danys Báez and many others.

And, delving further down the path our beloved comrades seem to be taking, we should also talk about and recognize all those Cuban Americans, the children of many people who had to leave the island, for so many reasons, but, in the end, form one people. We should talk about Gio González, today’s best Cuban pitcher; and the great José Fernández, who we miss every day here; and of first basemen like Eric Hosmer and Yonder Alonso; of the stellar season of J. D. Martínez; of the Seguís, the Palmeiros and the Cansecos of this world; and of Miamians Dan Otero, Albert Almora and Jon Jay, born to a mother from Matanzas and father from Santiago; and the Californian Nolan Arenado, with a Puerto Rican mother and Cuban father, whose grandfather Gerardo the Revolution locked up.

Following this trail, as long as we are at it, why not also talk about the big names from across the seas, to overcome that chauvinism that does us Cubans so much harm, and admire guys like Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, José Altuve...

And, as long as we are going to head down the road of unfettered access to information, why not talk about everything, and anything, beyond baseball, and let all Cubans know about whatever they want, and draw their own conclusions?

Speak, write, dear comrades. We have got to know if your are willing to be honest or if, on the contrary, the (deferred) broadcast of the World Series is just another ploy to continue manipulating and misinforming us. 

We met yesterday, we'll meet tomorrow.

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