Bad Handwriting in La Joven Cuba (20)

[In response to Yasel]

When it comes to talking about baseball, you have eleven million experts who talk about it until they lose their voices. What happened in the last match ups inspires ardent debates. I want to bring something not found in this commentaries. When you compete under pressure, the adrenaline improves your performance, but I want to refer to the extra pressure that goes with making a Cuban team.

Many times the most important criteria aren’t the sport-related ones, the players are constantly watched, they’re not allowed to interact outside the supervision of others, they have to listen to a patriotic speech as if the invocation of the Fatherland were a secret talisman, exclusive to Cubans, and be told that their rivals are not also focused on winning. It takes a manager cut from good cloth to direct his or her team without paying attention to a cell phone call direct from Cuba.

The tinfoil era is behind us. The level of players in other countries has been raised, but above all we must depoliticize baseball. Let the good players be contracted by other leagues and remain members of the national team when necessary, in other sports you win by competing. Cuban baseball players spend the year playing, but are not considered professionals, are given their salary in Cuban pesos and a stipend in CUCs, plus a little plot they can save on each trip. It’s a fact that in any society that makes a cult our of its artists and athletes, then, why the different treatment of artists versus athletes?

There is an impossible cost-benefit ratio in a competition like the Pan American Games. Take twenty players, plus pitching and hitting trainers, coaches, mentor, batboy, masseur, psychologist and comrade who looks after them for a single medal, hey, it’s not football. Hopefully the national commission and all involved will give an ear to the fans, the Classic has become the top competition, I agree that the talent is there, just need to harness it without “noise in the system.”

Thank you very much, Yasel, for your post.

November 13 2011

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