Major League Baseball authorities are closely following the agreement reached by Cuba and the United States to re-establish diplomatic relations, though the embargo will continue to prevent Cuban baseball players from reaching the league in a normal, straightforward way.
There have indeed been many bizarre, improbable, almost credibility-stretching games played in the Cuban League over the past half-century of “revolutionary” baseball. And now this past week still another oddball event – again a walk-off home run of the most unlikely and unprecedented variety – has staked its claim for a spot atop the growing inventory of classic Cuban League baseball oddities.
It felt as though Cuba was aiming to secure a first place at the Olympic Games or a seat in the UN Security Council – but they were merely the 2014 Veracruz Central American and Caribbean Games. The tension felt during the competition could be felt both on the island and the host country.
Two Cuban stars of Major League Baseball outfielder Yoenis Céspedes and first baseman/DH Kendry Morales, already have new teams for the upcoming season. Cespedes will play with the Detroit Tigers and Kendry with the Kansas City Royals.
The Cuban baseball season resumes play on Friday after a month long recess to allow the national team to prepare and play in the Central American and Caribbean Games in Veracruz, Mexico, where they won the title. All 16 teams will see action today.
Yasmani Tomas, one of the most recent stars of the Cuban baseball league to flee the island, signed a six-year $68.5 million with the Arizona Diamondbacks, reported dpa news on Wednesday.
It was a long-awaited baseball resurrection of sorts and it most appropriately came in an event Cuba has so long dominated. With a resounding five-game sweep of the field at this week’s 22nd Central American and Caribbean Games in Veracruz, Cuba not only regained a hefty measure of its badly tarnished reputation but did so in an impressive – almost flawless fashion.
Cuba, the big favorite in the baseball tournament of the XXII Central American and Caribbean Games, did not disappoint its fans and finished with a perfect 5-0 record, defeating Nicaragua 9-3 in the championship game Friday night at the Beto Avila stadium in Veracruz.
Cuba came from behind to win a hard fought semifinal game on Thursday 6-3 over the Dominican Republic. They will now face Nicaragua – which defeated Puerto Rico 2-1 in the other semifinal-, on Friday night in the finals of the baseball tournament of the Central American and Caribbean Games taking place in Veracruz, Mexico.
An expected victory over Guatemala, in seven innings and by the mercy rule with 10-0 score, sent Team Cuba to the semifinals of the XXII Central American and Caribbean Games, in the city of Veracruz, Mexico.