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Panama vs. Cuba

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  • Panama vs. Cuba

    They are playing a great one right now! Boy!

    Tie game. Bot 9th. Bases loaded. 2 out. full count.

    Hit Batsmen.
    The Cuban 2nd Baseman hits an astounding 2run-HR to give Cuba a two-run lead in Top 9th.

    Cuba is not as good as I thought (particularly on fundamentals) and Panama is playing better than I thought!

    The WBC is a great Thing.

    P.S. I'm not Bud Selig!

  • #2
    An absolute TON of stupid errors by the Cubans. Couldn't believe it. Runner picked off 2nd, another runner caught stealing at THIRD to end an inning, etc. They have a ton of baseball talent but the coaching is brutal.


    • #3
      Cuba needs extras, but gets first win
      Gourriel shines as club avoids Panama upset bid
      By Jesse Sanchez /

      • Box score

      SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Leading up to its matchup against Panama, no other team in the inaugural World Baseball Classic had received as much attention for its state of affairs off the field as Cuba.

      The constant talk of security measures, its communist government, and defection were issues that all seemingly moved to the forefront, making the sport and the country's rich history of athletics secondary.

      On Wednesday, Cuba second baseman Yulieski Gourriel and his teammates reminded the 6,129 in attendance at Hiram Bithorn Stadium and anyone who was paying attention the reason for the season -- and the tournament.

      It's about baseball and pride, not to mention a healthy competition between countries.

      Gourriel proved the point by hitting a two-run home run in the top of the ninth to break a tie at 4, and Yoandy Garbolo reiterated it by driving home Michel Enrique in the 11th inning with what proved to be the gamewinner in an 8-6 victory that featured half as many combined hit batsman as runs.

      Gourriel walked and scored Cuba's eighth run of the game in the eventful 11th. Enrique reached base after being hit for the third time in the game. Overall, there were seven hit batsmen.

      "I'm definitely impressed with the Cuban team," Panama starter Bruce Chen said. "We have to give credit. They made some adjustments."

      With Cuba ahead, 6-4, Panama loaded the bases in the ninth inning and scored one run on a base hit by Olmedo Saenz to cut the lead to one run. Cuban pitcher Yuniesky Maya recovered to strike out Carlos Lee, but then hit the next batter, Earl Agnoly with the bases loaded to tie the game at 6.

      The high number of hit batters surprised only a few. Panama and Cuba have met several times in international competition, so calling the game a rivalry is an understatement. Early on, it was almost called a blowout.

      Panama loaded the bases for the first time with one out in the bottom of the first inning, but Cuban starter Pedro Luis Lazo escaped the inning unscathed when designated hitter Sherman Obando hit into an inning-ending double play that featured a nice toss by shortstop Eduardo Paret, and a fancy bare-handed grab and pivot by the slick-fielding Gourriel.

      In the second, Panama catcher Carlos Ruiz walked with one out and advanced to third when Audes DeLeon followed with a single. Yoni Lasso's ground-rule double drove home Ruiz and pushed Lazo out of the game with Panama ahead, 1-0.

      A walk to Freddy Herrera by Cuba's Vicyohandry Odelin loaded the bases again for Panama, this time with two outs, but Saenz hit into a forceout to end the inning and keep Cuba within striking distance.

      Cuba managed only one hit off Chen, a starter for the Orioles, in the first two innings, but the club's resilience paid off in the third. Joan Carlos Pedrosa reached base on a shallow single to center field that dropped in a few feet ahead of Ruben Rivera to start the frame, and scooted to third on a pair of sacrifice bunts by Alexei Ramirez and Carlos Tabares.

      Paret knocked Pedrosa home from third with a double to left field to tie the game. He scored from second base when Gourriel smoked a line drive to the left field corner to give Cuba a 2-1 lead.

      Chen recovered to strikeout Osami Urrutia, but the damage had been done. Cuba, unlike it's Panamanian counterparts, did not waste the opportunity to score.

      Odelin was stellar, all but eliminating any scoring chances for Panama -- initially. Following the walk to Herrera, Odelin sat down 11 out of the next 12 batters he faced, including 10 in a row through the fifth inning.

      But the tiring Cuban pitcher ran in to trouble in the sixth, giving up a single to Lee and walked Obando. The next batter, Rivera, followed with a three-run home run.

      Panama was up 4-2. Odelin was out on a sour note, but Cuba's mood was far from spoiled.

      Following a walk to pinch-hitter Ariel Borrero, Alexei Ramirez scored on a RBI single by Paret to cut Panama's lead to one run, 4-3. Enrique was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Gourriel.

      He did not disappoint.

      Gourriel launched a deep drive that was caught by Rivera in deep center field, but allowed pinch-runner Leslie Anderson to tag up from third base and tie the game at 4.

      Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for


      • #4
        I loved Yulieski Gourriel in this game. Too bad he will never play in the majors.


        • #5
          Cuban mystique is no mistake

          SAN JUAN -- The mystique turned out to be no mistake. The world got a high-beam look at Cuba on Wednesday afternoon, and saw a team as good as speculated.
          No more. The young Cubans were put through the grinder by an aspiring Panamanian team.

          No less. Resilient, impervious to peril, they recovered from a hailstorm of staggering blows to survive their World Baseball Classic debut.

          Just perfectly chivalrous.

          Not long after his team had escaped Hiram Bithorn Stadium with an 8-6, 11-inning victory over Panama, Cuban manager Higinio Velez grabbed the microphone during the formal media conference.

          "I'd like to dedicate this win ...," Velez began. Just when everyone expected Fidel Castro's name to drop in, Velez went on, "... to all the women in the world. As you know, March 8 is International Women's Day."

          Well, we do now.

          We also know a little more about those mysterious Cubans. Some considered them too green to stay with the Classic crowd, but you can't teach talent. And they're dripping with it.

          And they were thrilled for the chance to finally show it in a forum bigger than the shadowy world of international baseball where they tasted most of their prior triumphs.

          "I'm very happy. The most important thing is that my team won," said Yulieski Gourriel, who turned the most heads. "But with so many foreign broadcasters around, it's very good that everybody got an opportunity to see how we play baseball."

          What they saw was a Classic classic. A triumph for Cuba's losing-is-not-an-option tenacity over Panama's grit.

          Fourteen give-and-take runs, four lead changes. Seven hit batters, not in anger but in competitiveness. No ejections. Baseball being played as intended, with pitchers claiming ownership of the inside corner.

          "The game was so close, no one wanted to put anyone on base," said Panama starting pitcher Bruce Chen. "But no one wanted to leave a pitch over the middle of the plate, either."

          Chen pitched the first four innings. Then came the hard part. He had to watch the last seven, pretzeled by the game's momentum shifts along with the 6,129 in the stands.

          You can get the Cubans down. But it's not that easy to take them out. They play the game with so much swagger and confidence, belying the enormous pressure on them.

          And the pressure Wednesday was suffocating, especially after Ruben Rivera snapped Panama out of its 15-inning Classic hush -- two runs -- with a three-run homer in the sixth for a 4-2 lead.

          Often, the Cubans seemed angry -- at each other. On several occasions, they appeared to lay blame on one another right on the field. And they were fundamentally unsound -- getting picked off second, making the final out on a failed steal of third, throwing to the wrong base on bunts.

          Those were the obvious signs of their youth.

          Ultimately, they made it right. If there is one major difference in the Cuban baseball culture, it is this: It's not how you play the game, but whether you win or not.

          "Winning here for us is paramount," Velez said. "A tournament of this nature, we knew would not be easy."

          It is made easier by that double play combination to dive for. Shortstop Eduardo Paret, the 33-year-old captain, and Gourriel, the 21-year-old third base protégé playing out of position, turned the Hiram Bithorn Stadium turf into an acrobat mat all afternoon.

          They got stick, too. The two combined to go 5-for-9 with six RBIs.

          "You put (Gourriel) in the big leagues," said an admiring Chen, "he'd be a major star in the Majors. And I hope he gets that opportunity."

          Cuban superstars are as adept at turning away personal glory as they are at turning two.

          "We played well, and for us this was a way of breaking the ice," Gourriel said. "This will help us, because now we can relax for future games. This first game most concerned us."

          They had seen Panama get in the face of Puerto Rico on Tuesday night, then got the same treatment from The Little Team That (Almost) Could.

          "This was a huge task. And we felt we had a chance to win," Chen said. "For all intents and purposes, we're out of the running (for Round 2 qualification).

          "But we were able to show the entire world that we're capable. We represented Panama with a lot of courage and a lot of heart."

          Ultimately, the only hearts they broke were their own.

          The Panama dugout was SRO as Rivera's ball left the park, then through the tying surge in the bottom of the ninth. Cuba was there to be had.

          But instead of Sandman, this was a case of sandbagging. Cuba uncorked the final punches.

          Would it have been different with Mariano Rivera at Panamanian manager Anibal Reluz's beck and call to the bullpen?

          "If we had Mariano, I think we would have been able to win," Chen said of the premier closer, who elected to skip Classic participation. "There was a situation where we could have used him for a couple of innings.

          "But I don't want to take anything away from anyone; I'm very proud of our relievers."

          Long ago, Cuba resounded with those infamous cries of "Yankee go home!" This time, to some extent, Cuba benefited as the Yankee stayed home.

          Such a pity!


          • #6
            I should be the Cuban manager!!!!!!!!!!:grouchy

            Let's not forget that it was the first game for the Cubans and probably they were scared about the Classic.

            But how about those young Cubans 22 years old 2B Gourriel, 26 years old RHP Odelin, 19 years old RHP Pedroso, RHP Maya and RHP Marti.

            Let's talk about the defense by SS Paret, 2B Gourriel and 3B Enriquez!!!


            • #7
              Originally posted by Cubano100%
              I should be the Cuban manager!!!!!!!!!!:grouchy

              Let's not forget that it was the first game for the Cubans and probably they were scared about the Classic.

              But how about those young Cubans 22 years old 2B Gourriel, 26 years old RHP Odelin, 19 years old RHP Pedroso, RHP Maya and RHP Marti.

              Let's talk about the defense by SS Paret, 2B Gourriel and 3B Enriquez!!!
              BIG BAD CUBA was scared? Come on now...
              Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis


              • #8
                Originally posted by aarond23
                I loved Yulieski Gourriel in this game. Too bad he will never play in the majors.
                "Never" is a very big word...
                "I know One Thing, That I Know Nothing" - - - Socrates


                • #9
                  Wouldn't it be cool if the entire Cuban team defected?!
                  Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 03-09-2006, 10:20 PM.
                  Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by aarond23
                    I loved Yulieski Gourriel in this game. Too bad he will never play in the majors.

                    Never? Why do you believe never?
                    I'm sure there were TONS of scouts and Agents scouting for Potential clients. You telling me Boras/Tellem and Company couldn't convince him to come get Millions?

                    I'd love to see more of the kid and now I'll definately TiVo the Cuban games too.
                    "After my fourth season I asked for $43,000 and General Manager Ed Barrow told me, 'Young man, do you realize Lou Gehrig, a 16-year-man, is playing for only $44,000?' I said, Mr. Barrow, there is only one answer to that - Mr. Gehrig is terribly underpaid."- Yankees outfielder Joe DiMaggio


                    • #11
                      Boras and Tellem have never had a Cuban, so I doubt Gourriel would be their first.

                      You can never say never with Cubans, but Gourriel is like A-Rod in Cuba right now and I'm sure he's very comfortable. He's had about 10 opportunities to defect on foreign soil in last 3 years.


                      • #12

                        Tell you what. my Cuban Team is doing great
                        I knew I couldn`t xpect less from the olimpic champions


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules
                          Wouldn't it be cool is the entire Cuban team defected?!

                          How are they going to defect? I read there are around 55 people in the Cuban delegation. If there are 30 players, who are the others?
                          Chivatos! Informants! :radio
                          In addition, there are 200 police officers watching over them. They are in a different section of the hotel or a different hotel depending on the source of info.

                          Impossible to defect under this conditions!

                          But if they play well against MLguers now, some will defect in the future because they know they have talent.


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