Cover Photo - World Baseball Classic Semifinals: Cuba v United States MIAMI, FLORIDA - MARCH 19: Trea Turner #8 of Team USA celebrates with Will Smith #16 and Jeff McNeil #1 after hitting a three-run home run in the sixth inning against Team Cuba during the World Baseball Classic Semifinals at loanDepot park on March 19, 2023 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
In the WBC (World Baseball Classic) semis Team USA beat Team Cuba 14-2 to advance to the championship game between the winner of Japan versus Mexico to be played later today. Team USA featured an All-Star squad with many projected to earn Hall of Fame status once they are eligible. Unlike other teams who could also feature an All-Star squad to represent their country, Cuba on the other hand had to deal with the reality of political issues which affected their ability to assemble the best talent. Nevertheless, they surprised some by rebounding from two straight early loses to make it to the semifinal game. From Cuba’s perspective there’s so much more to the story than just the final score.
“The USA team is perhaps the best they have put together, my congratulations to the USA. Regarding the political incidents in the game, it is pitiful that politics and sports are mixed and there is a group of Cubans who, in my opinion, despite the resentment, have a business with the networks and exacerbate hatred and those things, I think, that demean those who act in that way.” Jose Raul-Santiago de Cuba
Could the Cuban players who defected have changed the outcome?
We will never know!!! But what we do know is over the years many players from CUBA have made it to MLB (Major League Baseball). Currently there are over twenty players on MLB rosters. During their days in CUBA many were stars of the national team and once arriving in the USA continued their prowess. Unfortunately, due to the agreement made by MLB and the BFC (Baseball Federation of Cuba) only two players from current MLB rosters were able to play for the home country. The rest or those who defected to the USA were prohibited from participating. Then again, there were a few who could have played but opted out due to their allegiance with those who currently despise the government. Of course players like Randy Arozarena who is a star for the Tampa Bay Rays instead chose to play for the country they claimed citizenship (Mexico) before making a MLB roster. One could only imagine if just a fraction of those deemed ineligible were allowed to participate the outcome could have been much different than the 14-2 shellacking they suffered. It’s this handicap that draws pride in the Cuban team for making it as far as they did.