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  • Honkbal Baseball Week is held every other year in Haarlem, Netherlands. There was a separate thread for this year's event in this forum; last post should have been within the last month.

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    • Olympic pre-qualifier thoughts

      Cubano, I saw your post about rooting for both teams . . .
      Reminds me of my dad who used to say that he always rooted for the winner.

      Thought you folks might enjoy this opinion piece from an Arizona paper.


      MLB will benefit when blockade of Cuban players ends

      Joseph A. Reaves
      The Arizona Republic
      Sept. 5, 2006 12:00 AM

      The United States and Cuba play tonight in the gold-medal game of the
      pre-Olympic qualifying tournament in Havana.

      Both countries qualified this past weekend for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, so
      tonight's game is mostly about pride - and about what should have been and
      what might yet be.

      The recent hospitalization of 80-year-old Cuban President Fidel Castro
      raised speculation about the future of the island nation's most precious
      commodity: its baseball players.

      Once upon a time, Cuba sent the greatest number of foreign-born players to
      the major leagues. Even now, after nearly a half-century ban on players
      leaving for the United States, Cubans rank fourth on the all-time list of
      foreign-born major leaguers with 153.

      Forget about politics. If a regime change in Cuba brings an end to the
      blockade, baseball fans everywhere will benefit.

      "It will give you a chance to see the best baseball players in the world,
      the ones who didn't defect like me and my brother and the other people,"
      says Diamondbacks pitcher Livan Hernandez, who defected in 1995 and two
      years later was MVP of the World Series.

      "Everybody is waiting to see what happens. It's better to have them come and play. Cubans play the best baseball in the world."

      Folks in some other strong baseball countries might argue with that. But
      there is no denying Cubans play some of the best baseball in the world.

      They've proved it time and again. Since 1936, Cuba has won the World Cup of
      Baseball 25 times. Next best is Venezuela with three world titles.

      Cuba has won three of the four gold medals awarded at the Olympics since
      baseball became an official sport in 1992.

      And in the inaugural World Baseball Classic last spring, Cuba finished
      second to Japan and ahead of powerhouse teams from the United States, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela - all loaded with established major league stars.

      Part of the reason Cuba has excelled in international competition is because
      of the blockade. Its best players are concentrated on one national team,
      instead of being dispersed among major league clubs as they were before 1960 when such greats as Minnie Minoso, Luis Tiant and Bert Campaneris came to the United States.

      That almost certainly will change some day. Maybe not the moment Castro
      leaves the scene, but some day, and perhaps soon.

      Some of Cuba's best players have managed to slip through the blockade.
      Hernandez and his half brother, Orlando, are among the biggest. Jose
      Contreras, Vladimir Nuñez and Danys Baez all made a big impact in the
      majors. And Kendry Morales of the Los Angeles Angels is a superstar in the making.

      But some of the best baseball players of the past half-century never had the
      chance to prove they were as good as, or better than, their major league
      counterparts.

      Third baseman Omar Linares might have been the best of all. He was the star
      player for Cuba's gold-medal Olympic teams in 1992 and '96, batting .488 (40
      for 82) with 12 home runs.

      Earlier this summer, Baseball America called Linares "the most influential
      amateur player of the last 25 years."

      "Not to take anything away from Brooks Robinson, Graig Nettles or even the
      greatest defensive third baseman that I saw play, Billy Cox, but Linares
      could play circles around them all," said Bob Weinstein of Goodyear, who has
      visited Cuba more than 100 times since 1997 promoting sports exchanges.
      "Plus he (Linares) hit for average and power.

      "He had several opportunities to defect but always remained true to his
      country."

      Linares once said the New York Yankees offered him $50 million to defect.
      "(That) would be an act of treason," he said. "It will never happen." And it
      never did.

      It's too late for Linares. His career is over. But many think Cuba has some
      of the best young talent in decades ready for the major leagues if the
      opportunity arises.

      "I can only say that after watching Linares (and some of the other greats)
      in their primes, I am not sure that the current group isn't going to be the
      equal or better," said Weinstein, who just returned from the pre-Olympic
      qualifying tournament in Havana.

      He singled out of infielders Yulieski Gourriel, Eduardo Paret, Alexander
      Mayeta, outfielders Osmani Urrutia and Frederich Cepeda, and catcher Ariel
      Pestano. All are on the Cuban team that will play the United States tonight.

      And those are just the position players. Cuba is, as always, rich in
      pitchers: Frank Montieth, Norberto Gonzalez and Pedro Luis Lazo Iglesias to
      name a few.

      Will any of them ever make it to the major leagues? Time will tell. But not
      everyone is hoping they will. One who isn't is Peter C. Bjarkman author of
      several books on Cuban baseball and a frequent visitor to the island.

      "When that day comes, there will be little left that can be called Cuban
      baseball," Bjarkman said by e-mail from the tournament in Havana. "The
      ending of this era will wipe out a glorious institution, despite some
      positive changes in terms of opportunity for Cubans in the majors - just as
      the signing of (Jackie) Robinson in 1947 meant the end of the thriving
      institution that was once the Negro Leagues.

      "It is the inevitable march of time."

      Reach the reporter at (602) 444-8125 or [email protected]

      Comment


      • The blockade is not the problem, even if it didnt exist, Castro wouldnt allow "his" players to leave.
        Yankees' payroll: $250 millions
        Marlins' payroll: $50 millions
        Marlins winning The Series: Priceless

        "Visiting Americans love going to Cuban games because with no free agency, no franchise movement and no owners blackmailing cities for new stadiums, it all smacks of 1950's America, ignoring the inconvenient fact that such a fantasyland is only possible in a dictatorship"-S.L. Price

        Comment


        • Three more years and he will be gone.

          Comment


          • Dihigo:

            I like your nickname: Dihigo "el Maestro o el Inmortal". The greatest of all Cuban players for sure.

            I was born in Cuba obviously. When I was growing up there, I used to root for the Americans (college kids) every time they played the Cuban National team. Mainly, I was sicked and tired of the Communist Mambo Jumbo Dumbo dance with me propaganda. I also did it because those Cuban players did not defect to the USA. They lacked vision in my opinion. I wished to be in their position for one second in my life to say bye bye to the nonsense. Despite all of this, I also wanted the Cuban team to win. I am Cubano 100% and I can not change that.

            Now than I am in the USA, I root for both too. The USA is my adoptive land and I am very thankfull of being here. The USA has been so generous to me that sometimes I feel overwelm.

            Life is full of contradictions. Isn't it?

            Cubans see the end of this nightmare coming soon. Baseball players are now thinking about their future more than in the past. Therefore, there will be more defections in the future. This is one reason why I root for the Cuban team. I want them to do well so they can see for themselves they can compete against the big boys. I know by doing so I am rooting for some players such as Osmany Urrutia and Eduardo Paret who are Communists. It does not matter to me. They chose their side and they will have to leave with their decisions for the rest of their life.

            Let me stop here before Jim bans me for 48 hours.
            Last edited by Cubano100%; 09-06-2006, 02:58 PM.

            Comment


            • Cubano,

              You're not close to being banned, though the post about three years (two up) is, I fear, less about baseball than politics. I don't know where you intended to go with the post before this, though.

              Look, I'm not here to be heavy handed. But if I've got to keep the peace, I'll do what I have to do. Personal attacks of any kind are out. I recognize that politics intrudes into many discussions in this forum because it's a legitimate part of the discussion. However, if we go beyond our connection to baseball and meander into predominantly political discussion, that's out of bounds. It's hard to define precisely--but we all should be careful when we get into politics here. This forum is about baseball. If you want to talk about the political system or rulers of various countries in the world, there are plenty of places to do that appropriately. This site is not among them.

              As I said in another discussion, a major reason people like sports is they provide an escape from the "real world". Few folks if any are coming here to discuss politics. Free speech is great, but everybody here is enjoying a free service as a guest. Please be a good guest and everything will be fine. Those guests who cannot behave appropriately will be dealt with.

              Sorry about the sermon. But it seems there's some doubt about the ground rules. I hope I've cleared it up. If you want to contact me to discuss what's acceptable and what's not, feel free to PM me.

              Jim Albright
              Seen on a bumper sticker: If only closed minds came with closed mouths.
              Some minds are like concrete--thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.
              A Lincoln: I don't think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.

              Comment


              • Jim:

                I was joking at the end of my previous post regarding the 48 hours ban. Usually, we have no problems in this Thread. Anybody can discuss things in here without any problems. However, now and then someone shows up to write wonderful things about what is going on in Cuba. That is when the problem starts with me. The entire world has lived a romanticism with the Cuban revolution. Many times this romantic view permeates into our sport discussions in here.

                Let's go back to baseball.


                Jose Contreras pitched great yesterday. I saw part of the game and he looked strong. Last year, he pitched great down the stretch. This year, Johan Santana is doing the same for the Twins. I still think the White Sox can earn the Wild Card.
                Last edited by Cubano100%; 09-07-2006, 05:46 AM.

                Comment


                • SS Yuniesky Betancourt batted third again. I do not think the M's should put him there. This is his Bio: Height: 5'10" Weight: 190

                  This is not a Bio for a hitter batting third.

                  Comment


                  • Hey Cubano, I didnt get to see much of Contreras, I was enjoying my rookie pitcher throw a No-No, while putting us back a game over 500,first team ever to be 20 games under 500 and go over at some point in the season, first team since 1952 with three rookies with ten wins or more, first NL team ever with two rookies with 20 or more HR's, and only 3 games back in the WC race, still think we are AA caliber??????
                    Yankees' payroll: $250 millions
                    Marlins' payroll: $50 millions
                    Marlins winning The Series: Priceless

                    "Visiting Americans love going to Cuban games because with no free agency, no franchise movement and no owners blackmailing cities for new stadiums, it all smacks of 1950's America, ignoring the inconvenient fact that such a fantasyland is only possible in a dictatorship"-S.L. Price

                    Comment


                    • Yuniesky Betancourt

                      Hargrove is shaking things up with Yuniesky in the three hole.

                      Earlier in the year I posted a lineup with Betancourt hitting leadoff followed by Lopez 2nd and Ichiro third. Most of the guys commented that Ichiro is a natural leadoff hitter and both Lopez and Betancourt belong farther back in the order.

                      I think Yuni would be a great leadoff hitter. For a guy who is basically a rookie (200 AB's last year) he has shown he can take some pitches, go the other way and he can hit curveballs. He's got speed and he doesn't strikeout.

                      Lopez showed the first half of this year that he can take pitches and give himself up and go the other way to move runners over. He did great hitting second. Hargrove had to mess with sucess and move him to third in the lineup for awhile.

                      Ichiro, IMO, is a perfect three hitter, where I believe he hit most of his career in Japan. He doesn't stikeout much and he puts the ball in play. He has no power but his average with guys in scoring position and with the sacks full is off the charts.

                      Everyone says I'm nuts thinking this way.

                      Comment


                      • In numerous ocassions, I have found articles in the Media mentioning the fact that only 23 Cuban defectors have made it to the big leagues among the 146 known defectors since 1993. In 1993, Havana Lions RHP Rene Arocha walked away in the Miami airport (I think). He was not the first one because Barbaro Garbey came during the Mariel. However, Arocha was the first one walking away during an International trip as a member of the Cuban team.

                        As you can see, only a handfull of these players have decent careers in Cuba. The rest had no business to do in the USA as baseball players. Even among these 16 players there are several that waited to long to defect.

                        The following players are the ones with some decent number in Cuba disregarding age. I also tried to pick them according to their positions. For instance, Rey Ordonez could not hit a meatball in Cuba but he was good defensibly.

                        In most cases, these players wasted 2 years in third countries. Therefore, if a player had 10 seasons in Cuba, it is safe to add 2 more baseball years to their careers.

                        Michel Abreu
                        Jesus Atmetller
                        Yuniesky Betancourt
                        Barbaro Canizares Trying to make it as an utility. He was bad defensibly as a catcher and was DH for the Lions.
                        Amaury Casanas
                        Roberto Colina Played with aluminum bat in Cuba
                        Jorge Diaz
                        Yobal Duenas played 14 seasons in Cuba and spend 2 years in third countries
                        Barbaro Garbey
                        Alberto Hernandez catcher with good defense but no good ofensibly
                        Oscar Macias Played 18 seasons in Cuba mostly with aluminum bats.
                        Juan Miguel Miranda Still in D.R.
                        Andy Morales Lacked power for MLB
                        Kendry Morales
                        Rey Ordonez
                        Jorge Toca Played with aluminum bat in Cuba


                        Only 16 players out of 83 had some decent numbers in Cuba.

                        Five of these players have played in the big leagues:

                        Others have reached AA or AAA with good numbers: Abreu, Canizares and Atmetller.


                        I have not finished my work yet. I am waiting to collect this year minor league season numbers once the Web Sites update the info. Then, I will have the different levels these players reached and their stats.




                        What do you guys think?


                        These are position players only.


                        Code:
                         Players	Series	AB	H	AVE	2B	3B	HR	SLU	RBI	BB	K	Fielding AVE
                        
                        Michel Abreu	8	2194	691	315	105	3	115	523	432	399	418	989
                        Roberto Alvarez	3	535	133	249	22	7	11	378	70	41	177	973
                        Jesus Atmetller	3	509	99	287	22	5	23	485	6	38	58	964
                        Jose Ballester	2	204	42	206	6	0	2	265	16	18	53	956
                        Evel Batisda	4	1067	326	306	40	14	3	378	106	171	142	934
                        Y. Betancourt	4	1187	333	281	60	23	26	436	148	62	123	973
                        Smaily Borges	0						
                        Yasser Borges	0						
                        Juan  Bruzon	12	3633	1131	311	197	28	29	405	363	252	256	978
                        Alexi Cabrejas	6	1324	424	320	48	14	12	405	131	133	209	973
                        Eduardo Cajuso	3	524	104	198	22	2	1	254	29	25	94	963
                        B. Canizares	10	2248	671	298	119	3	52	423	379	374	302	984
                        Amaury Casanas	9	2263	669	296	137	24	121	538	451	323	573	965
                        G. Casares	1	15	4	267	2	0	0	400	3	2	3	889
                        Carlos Castillo	2	261	66	253	5	5	1	322	14	15	39	940
                        B. Ceballos	4	490	91	186	9	1	0	208	26	79	63	920
                        Mario  Chaoui	0						
                        Roberto Colina	11	2722	798	293	144	8	104	467	466	519	460	992
                        Lazaro Costa	3	104	28	269	3	1	2	375	16	1	12	981
                        Jose Cano	5	1358	399	294	55	12	52	467	194	117	266	987		
                        Alexander Diaz	4	62	8	129	1	0	1	194	4	4	26	984
                        Juan Diaz	0				
                        Jorge Diaz6	1915	542	283	61	26	21	375	172	268	260	973
                        Yobal Duenas	14	5025	1615	321	282	46	136	477	763	351	359	974
                        Roman Duequesne	4	481	117	243	14	5	4	318	64	46	36	975
                        Yunel Escobar	4	439	119	271	16	2	6	358	50	77	96	923
                        Osmany Estrada	4	130	32	246	2	3	4	400	21	12	11	932
                        Alexis Fonseca	2	96	23	240	0	0	1	271	8	5	18	1000
                        Walter Frias	0											
                        Barbaro Garbey	5	1128	327	290	52	7	19	399	140	103	94	956
                        Osmani Garcia	8	1902	570	300	105	10	48	441	252	163	177	970
                        Mario Gonzalez	4	505	123	244	21	3	3	315	73	154	53	980
                        Rolando Gum	4	377	90	239	6	0	0	255	12	26	45	949
                        A. Hernandez	11	2430	616	253	98	3	94	412	359	320	369	985
                        A. Hernandez	6	716	201	281	38	2	26	448	107	50	112	985
                        M. Hernandez	3	81	23	284	3	2	1	407	7	7	8	987
                        V. Hernandez	7	231	72	312	15	0	3	416	25	12	19	939
                        Felix Isasi 	8	1176	325	276	35	12	7	344	82	154	139	980
                        Maikel Jova	0											
                        Yoan Limonta 	1	29	6	207	1	0	0	241	3	4	9	939
                        Donell Linares	1	47	9	191	4	0	0	277	1	6	9	100
                        Omar Llapur	0											
                        Angel Lopez	12	2413	644	267	107	10	115	452	391	204	550	985
                        Elio Lopez	2	10	0	0	0	0	0	0	0	0	2	926
                        Oscar Macias	18	6313	1960	310	319	50	286	513	1080	728	895	974
                        A. Martin	4	188	34	181	2	2	0	213	16	22	28	923
                        R. Mediavilla	6	257	43	167	6	1	1	210	20	42	42	982
                        Jose Mesa	1	89	13	146	1	0	0	157	4	25	35	904
                        Juan  Miranda	4	1138	343	301	70	14	57	538	205	197	242	981
                        Neylan Molina	3	765	243	318	28	6	0	370	49	77	46	992
                        Osmani Masso	4	900	219	275	28	6	7	351	84	76	142	961
                        Andy Morales	9	2322	740	319	151	15	54	466	374	207	237	964
                        Kendry Morales	3	871	287	330	60	5	37	537	170	116	124	954
                        Juan Muniz	5	765	178	233	26	2	9	307	83	98	154	958
                        R. Ordonez	4	712	186	261	23	4	4	322	71	23	76	963
                        Rafael Ortega	3	177	34	201	4	0	1	243	7	6	29	904
                        William Ortega	2	313	81	299	12	0	6	410	52	35	43	966
                        Ayalen Ortiz	4	596	167	280	29	4	8	383	53	37	110	964
                        Brayan Pena	0											
                        Josue Perez	2	199	51	297	11	0	0	360	27	21	30	981
                        Yohannis Perez	4	1208	327	271	36	14	10	349	110	103	246	966
                        Omar Perez	5	436	101	232	22	1	12	369	58	68	110	969
                        Nestor Perez	1	18	5	278	1	0	0	333	2	0	2	921
                        Joel Perez	2	2	0	0	0	0	0	0	0	0	0	1000
                        William Plaza	0											
                        Pablo Pozo	5	36	3	83	0	0	0	83	1	2	6	1000
                        N. Reinoso	9	1635	478	292	83	17	27	413	174	117	312	968
                        Roberto Salazar	8	1802	430	239	51	22	19	323	129	250	183	960
                        Y. Sanchez	2	462	108	234	15	3	3	299	58	26	62	955
                        Alex Sanchez	0											
                        Osmani Santana	7	1291	390	302	55	11	20	408	130	113	170	987
                        A. Santiesteban	2	129	31	240	3	1	0	279	12	16	19	985
                        F. Santiesteban	8	792	222	280	30	9	8	371	88	98	138	991
                        Y. Sardinas	3	66	14	212	0	0	1	258	2	3	27	989
                        Yalian Serrano	0											
                        Julio Soto	9	1256	274	218	28	11	8	277	102	116	206	942
                        Jorge Luis Toca	8	2497	796	319	165	15	100	517	465	217	348	992
                        Miguel Urra	2	12	2	167	0	0	0	167	1	0	2	846
                        Bernardo Utset	1	15	1	67	0	0	0	67	0	4	4	1000
                        Ramon Valdivia	2	8	0	0	0	0	0	0	0	1	2	944
                        A. Zuaznabar	2	205	55	268	8	2	2	356	18	19	33	928
                        Ramiro Chamizo	5	630	157	273	32	5	8	387	65	34	75	915

                        The following are the full names of the players which names appear with the first initial only.

                        Rigoberto Betancourt
                        Yuniesky Betancourt
                        Barbaro Canizares
                        Gregorio Casares
                        Bienvenido Ceballos
                        Alberto Hernandez
                        Alexis Hernandez
                        Michel Hernandez
                        Vladimir Hernandez
                        Alejandro Martin
                        Rogelio Mediavilla
                        Reynaldo Ordonez
                        Nataniel Reinoso
                        Yuniesky Sanchez
                        Americo Santiesteban
                        Francisco Santiesteban
                        Yennier Sardinas
                        Alejandro Zuaznabar
                        Last edited by Cubano100%; 09-11-2006, 11:58 PM.

                        Comment


                        • Good job Cubano, the stats are a little hard to read in that format though.
                          Yankees' payroll: $250 millions
                          Marlins' payroll: $50 millions
                          Marlins winning The Series: Priceless

                          "Visiting Americans love going to Cuban games because with no free agency, no franchise movement and no owners blackmailing cities for new stadiums, it all smacks of 1950's America, ignoring the inconvenient fact that such a fantasyland is only possible in a dictatorship"-S.L. Price

                          Comment


                          • Well, the stats aren't perfect to read this way, but they're a lot more legible than it's easy to manage without using the Code tags. You can try to manually adjust things to deal with the automatic tab sets these tags seem to use, which helps a little most times. It's just tough to do it really pretty without resorting to an attachment you've got to open. I prefer this to an attachment because it's more accessible. Anyway, to me the important things are 1) Cubano has been kind enough to do the work in providing us with this information, and 2) it's legible. Thanks, Cubano, and I look forward to hearing more.

                            Jim Albright
                            Seen on a bumper sticker: If only closed minds came with closed mouths.
                            Some minds are like concrete--thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.
                            A Lincoln: I don't think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.

                            Comment


                            • Jim -- I agree it's much more legible, but do you think the mods could possibly increase the default size for such tables? Right now, those stats boxes are only taking up about 50% of my browser window (left to right). If those stats boxes could be read more inline, rather than needing to scroll within the window (up/down and left/right), it would be even better. Thanks.

                              Comment


                              • Cubano -- Good job with the stats, but the headings are off (it says Series over ABs, ABs over Hits, etc.). Might want abbreviate Pos. Plyrs. so the headings fall back in line.

                                Comment

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