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Cuba vs Puerto Rico

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  • Cuba vs Puerto Rico

    For what is worth, Cuba features the highest batting average in the Classic vs Puerto Rico who features the best ERA so far.

  • #2
    Should be a great matchup but will both teams really be playing their 'A' game with both teams already advanced?

    If I was the Cuban manager I would empty the bench so the PR's still wouldn't know alot about my team in Round 2.


    • #3
      That may be true but I prefer to beat Puerto Rico so I do not have to face Johan Santana and Carlos Zambrano in the second round. Probably, both are mad after their performances against the Dominicans. I think they are better than Bartolo Colon and Batista too. No misrepect to the Dominicans friends here. If Pedro Martinez would be playing, probably I would prefer to see the Venezuelans first as oppose of the Martinez and Colon combo.

      Pool C Runner-up vs Pool D Runner-up
      Pool C Winner vs Pool D Winner
      Pool D Winner vs Pool C Runner-up
      Pool D Runner-up vs Pool C Winner
      Pool D Runner-up vs Pool D
      Pool C Runner-up vs Pool C Winner


      • #4
        Phenomenal Four set for Round 2 clash
        03/10/2006 12:39 AM ET
        By Tom Singer

        SAN JUAN -- All right. The preliminaries are over. Everyone put up a great fight, even those teams not really expected to compete.
        But the lights now are about to dim. You gamey guys from Panama, the Netherlands, Italy and Australia can pick up your World Baseball Classic souvenirs on your ways to the airport.

        We won't soon forget what you contributed.

        But now it's time for the main event, the big boys, the Phenomenal Four.

        Here, it is known as Clásico Mundial de Béisbol. And this neighborhood is about to Mun-dial it up. Hiram Bithorn Stadium will be a field beyond Latin America's wildest dreams in the Classic's Pool 2 of Round 2.

        Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Cuba. We won't know who will play when until the latter two settle Pool C's championship here Friday night.

        But we do know that Cuba already has its game face on. Following its Thursday night 11-2 victory over the Netherlands, enough to clinch a spot on the next rung, the Cubans declined to appear at the regular media conference.

        According to a local media liaison, the Cubans said they were "too tired" to attend the session. The same individual confirmed reports of a confrontation in the stands between a member of the Cuban delegation and a small pocket of anti-Cuba fans.

        That incident, in the eighth inning, and Cuba's avoidance of the media may have been purely coincidental. The Cubans may have intended to slip under their pre-Puerto Rico cone of silence anyway.

        For their manager, Higinio Velez, to issue a pregame statement about Friday's game certainly implied as much.

        Once Cuba and Puerto Rico determine the scheduling, the Phenomenal Four shootout can begin with Sunday's Round 2 openers.

        David Ortiz and Bartolo Colon. Bobby Abreu and Johan Santana. Carlos Beltran and Javier Vazquez. And taking them all on, an anonymous but mythical Cuban team looking for a big fight.

        Ay caramba!

        Fantasy Week actually begins with Friday night's monumental meeting of Cuba and Puerto Rico in the Pool C finale. To suggest the game means nothing because both are already in Round 2 is like saying John McCain and Hillary Clinton should just get along since they're both already in the Senate.

        Is this the game the island has been awaiting all week? Hah! Puerto Ricans have been waiting for it since Dec. 1, 1993, the last time Cuba had appeared in Hiram Bithorn Stadium until the Classic again brought them together.

        Let 'em have at each other, said Robert Eenhoorn, the vanquished manager of the Dutch, 8-3 losers the previous night to Team Puerto Rico.

        "They're both very good teams," Eenhoorn said. "Obviously, Puerto Rico has the Major League players. But many of the Cubans could also play in the Major Leagues, if they had the chance. So it should be a very good game."

        Velez virtually guaranteed that. But that's all he would guarantee, before his club dusted off the Netherlands behind a 16-hit attack.

        Velez violated a baseball commandment and looked ahead, calling it a "highly anticipated match. I assure everyone that we will give our best to bring the people a great show."

        As for a prediction, "Everything else will be left up to what happens on the field."

        Passions will percolate in the stands but, as Las Vegas 51s fans say, what happens on the field, stays on the field.

        And guess what? Cuba will be the home team, which will not sit well with Puerto Rican fans who will be insulted by the Cubans having last ups in their place. Luck of the draw -- literally, because it's how the home-team rotations were set up.

        The players can't afford to fire all their emotional bullets. They will meet again -- also in the final Round 2 game, Wednesday night.

        If that game is to be for high stakes, like a ticket to San Diego, it will mean that Cuba had passed some ultimate tests. Such as, finding someone to get out Papi Ortiz or to smack Santana's slider.

        That will be a tall order. Cuba is drenched with talent, but the caliber of competition it will be facing daily is on a level beyond what it has ever met.

        The Cubans qualified for Round 2 by outlasting Panama in 11 innings, then breaking open a competitive game with the Dutch in the seventh. Both performances were efficient, neither was dominant.

        Until the brief flare-up Thursday night, neither did either game give any evidence of the strong local emotions stirred by Cuba's appearance. Getting Cuba and Puerto Rico into opposite dugouts will tighten the emotional screws.

        The last time the nation's players stared at each other across Hiram Bithorn, Cuba was making a pit stop here on its way home after winning the baseball championship of the Central American Caribbean Games. They took on the San Juan Metros before a crowd of 22,000-plus -- who saw Javy Lopez hit a two-run walk-off homer for a 4-3 win.

        Yup. That Javy Lopez, then a 23-year-old prospect who had 32 Major League at-bats to his credit.

        The Cubans had then come to San Juan in a foul mood. Their entire delegation had left Ponce with 41 fewer athletes than it had come with -- the number of defectors during the Games.

        None of them, however, were baseball players. In fact, of the 137 all-time defectors off Cuba's baseball teams (according to agent Joe Kehoskie), none has ever made the move on United States soil, which Puerto Rico is.

        Now there's some baseball trivia you don't often come across.


        • #5
          To any of the Cuban fans what do they know about Borroto?, he's given up 4 runs in the game against PR.


          • #6
            He is 23 years old. At least, he came throwing strikes unlike Gonzalez and Folch.

            The Cuban team specially the pitchers were scared tonight.

            Congratulation to the Puerto Rican fans!

            The Cuban team has been baptized in this Classic. Let see how this young team respond in the next round. We know we have Johan Santana coming, so Cuban fans seat thight and pray for the best.

            I love to see how the Cuban Communist media massage the news for internal consumption.

            Last edited by Cubano100%; 03-11-2006, 02:12 AM.


            • #7
              Puerto Rico 12, Cuba 2


              Didn't expect that.
              Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis


              • #8
                Yeah after that result lets just hope Cuba isn't outclassed by the rest of their group in the second round.


                • #9
                  one of the best things about baseball is that a team can stink it up one day and then reel of a string of 'em.
                  "you don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. just get people to stop reading them." -ray bradbury


                  • #10
                    Cubans no match for P.R. ... this time
                    03/11/2006 1:46 AM ET
                    By Tom Singer

                    SAN JUAN -- The Dominican Republic and Venezuela will get here Saturday morning for the next stage of the World Baseball Classic.
                    Perhaps Team Cuba will also arrive in time for Round 2.

                    The real Cubans were nowhere to be seen in Hiram Bithorn Stadium on a Friday night which evolved into a fiesta of Puerto Rican joy and power.

                    While no one knew quite what to expect from this intensely anticipated match, nobody expected this. Cognoscenti aware of an overhauled team's weaknesses may have foreseen defeat, but not Cuba's worst in 23 years of international competition.

                    This 12-2 mercy rule-halted loss was Cuba's biggest since a 13-1 loss to Chinese Taipei during the 1983 Intercontinental Cup in Belgium. It was also Cuba's first loss to Puerto Rico in international play since a 5-4 defeat during the 1984 Amateur World Series in Havana.

                    "We have twice before lost in mercy-rule fashion," said Higinio Velez, the Cuban manager. "If it starts to happen regularly, it would be worrisome."

                    There's an understatement enough to not only fill Pool C, but the Atlantic Ocean. Like saying Cuban pitchers had trouble throwing strikes.

                    It actually looked more like all six of them were afraid to throw strikes, betraying the nerves that seemed to fray all around the Cubans. Aware of the yardstick they would be measured by, they had taken a dismissive stance approaching the Classic.

                    Center fielder Carlos Tabares, for instance, had said the difference between his crew and Major Leaguers can only be measured in currency: "It is only in the number of the salaries. They are professionals, and we also have professionals."

                    For at least one night, the difference was a bit more significant.

                    "It was just a bad night," Bernie Williams said courteously.

                    Maybe it was only a case of opening night jitters, Cuba's previous victories over Panama and the Netherlands being little more than rehearsal.

                    That certainly seemed to apply, even in Velez's opinion, to starting pitcher Yulieski Gonzalez, who suffered the ignominy of being removed in the first inning of a scoreless game.

                    He had already walked three men. His relievers would walk five more. Whatever pitch they dared throw within reach usually got clobbered, for 10 hits in the seven innings, three of them for homers.

                    Team Cuba schedule
                    Round 2, Pool 2 San Juan, Puerto Rico
                    Sunday vs. Venezuela, 1 p.m. ET
                    Monday vs. Dominican Republic, 2 p.m. ET
                    Wednesday vs. Puerto Rico, 7 p.m. ET
                    Full schedule >
                    Long balls by Williams, Alex Cintron and Carlos Beltran each were progressively longer. Beltran's three-run blow in the fifth sailed completely out of the stadium, over the right-field bleachers.

                    The next home run presumably would have sailed off the island and struck a fisherman. Maybe that's why they call it a mercy rule.

                    Velez, accompanied by his captain, shortstop Eduardo Paret, was the first one in the press tent for post-game interviews. The rarity of the whipping helped him face up to it.

                    It will also simplify his job of cranking up his team for Sunday's game against Venezuela.

                    "We have to be prepared, technically and psychologically," Velez said. "You didn't see all we have. You'll see it here again. We will have to make a psychological adjustment."

                    Some would say the Puerto Ricans had already forced them into making a psychological adjustment. Cuba is renowned as an intimidator in the international arena, a staff full of Roger Clemenses not averse to busting 95-mile fastball inside on young amateur kids.

                    Friday night, Cuban pitchers backed several batters off the plate, finally eliciting a warning to both benches by plate umpire Leone Pierfranco.

                    Puerto Rico's response came at a perfect time: With two outs, none on in the bottom of the seventh inning, a 12-1 lead giving it a little mercy breathing room.

                    That's when Jose Santiago plunked Juan Carlos Moreno with his 1-and-1 pitch. Who are we to say that it was intentional? But Santiago did start walking off the mound virtually the minute he let go of the ball, and before Pierfranco waved him off.

                    "He wasn't trying to hit anyone. He was trying to pitch in-and-out, like we were all game," said Jose Oquendo, Puerto Rico's manager, who knows the teams will meet again in Wednesday night's Pool 2 finale. "Now we can't worry about Cuba. All our attention is on the Dominican."

                    That run eventually scored, but not another, as Puerto Rico preserved its mercy margin.

                    The knowledgeable Puerto Rican fans howled through that seventh, aware their heroes had the chance to send off Cuba with a black eye and red face. Winning would have been satisfying. This was exhilarating.

                    From the outside, it's impossible to understand this rivalry. Either its depth, or its rarity.

                    The Red Sox and Yankees make your blood boil? You have many chances to vent -- 52 the last two years alone. They can see each other more on a weekend than Cuba and Puerto Rico see each other in a decade.

                    The rancor between Boston and the Bronx is rooted in the Red Sox once giving up a home run hitter who helped change both teams' histories.

                    This acrimony runs just a little deeper: Cuba, the feeling here goes, once gave up Puerto Rico, most definitely changing both countries' histories.

                    Take a close look at the two nations' flags: They are identical, except for being color inverses of each other (red stripes vs. blue, white star in blue triangle vs. white star in red triangle).

                    That's not a coincidence. Late in the 19th century, they were brothers-in-arms in search for independence from Spain. Short version: They struck an agreement in which Puerto Rico would aid Cuba's quest and, when freed, Cuba would return the favor.

                    A poetess, Lola Rodriguez de Tio, even described them in verse as "of a bird, two wings."

                    But after Cuba gained its liberty, it abandoned Puerto Rico, which in the course of the Spanish-American War of 1898 became a territory of the U.S.

                    Heavier stuff than pitch counts, but necessary to give context to this event, this triumph, this proud evening for Puerto Rico.

                    Most of the 19,736 in the stands certainly celebrated it. Though typically raucous, the crowd was better behaved than even most U.S. big-game gatherings.

                    And they showed extreme sportsmanship, never booing, cheering the Cuban players during the pre-game introductions almost as lustily as their own.

                    As it turned out, they had come to praise the Cubans, but also to bury them.

                    This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


                    • #11
                      One game, More to come

                      Yeah I'm hoping that Cuba can put on a good show on the next games. I mean it was just one game. Just look at how the USA lost the other day. This lost doesnt really mean anything for now, and I bet they wil have a better game against P.R. when they meet again.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MainSlot
                        Yeah I'm hoping that Cuba can put on a good show on the next games. I mean it was just one game. Just look at how the USA lost the other day. This lost doesnt really mean anything for now, and I bet they wil have a better game against P.R. when they meet again.
                        ..or the game may have shown the significant difference in the level of play between major leaguers and Cuban baseball.
                        Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules
                          ..or the game may have shown the significant difference in the level of play between major leaguers and Cuban baseball.
                          Like I said, we wont know for sure until we see more games, because anybody can lose one game.


                          • #14
                            Remember, not only have the Cubans not played against major leaguers, most Cuban players have never SEEN major leaguers. Cuban players can't just flip on ESPN like we can. The Cuban media makes it sound like the major leagues are full of Gods, so it's no wonder the players looked a little scared against P.R.

                            Jose Contreras pitched scared for a year, too. As soon as he trusted his ability, he was one of the most dominant pitchers in MLB. The same could be true for Gonzalez, Borroto, Suarez, et al, from yesterday's game.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules
                              ..or the game may have shown the significant difference in the level of play between major leaguers and Cuban baseball.

                              I thought not to reply to you but the temptation is too great.

                              Is Australia that close to the Dominicans? They only lost by 2 runs and they were the worst team in their group.

                              Is Canada much better than the USA? They beat the big brother from the South after all. Didn't they? The USA was dominated by a pitcher that only pitched in A ball.

                              Is South Corea better than Japan?

                              Is Dominican R. far superior than Venezuela? The final score was not that close.

                              Is Mexico that close to the USA? 2x0

                              Let me remind you that many teams in this tournaments not only have their MLguers but also players that either were born in the USA or became baseball players in the USA. I invite you to lance through the rosters and you will see what I am talking about. But Cuba is missing is the constant play against other good teams but the talent is there. This is a young team specially the pitchers. Why do you jump into conclusion so fast? Wait until Venezuela, Dominican R. and P.R. give Cuba 3 more nocauts to prove your assumptions.

                              The Cuba team has only players from the Cuban League. Cuban players in the ML nor those in the minor leagues are playing for Cuba. USA players with Cuban heritage are not playing for Cuba either.

                              So the 3 other teams in San Juan better beat the Cubans handily because if they don't, then I want you to write how good we are. Please, don't tell me that other teams are also missing players because there is no comparison in here. We are missing the most.

                              By the way, Cuban players don't use steroids. They are tested by the IBAF standards. Maybe we need Jose Canseco and Rafael Palmeiro to go back to their homeland and teach them how to use them.

                              Despite this fact, I like my chances with this team. Let's see how do they respond. I bet you they already received a phone call from the Cuban Sneak.

                              "We lost a battle, but not the war. The war starts on Sunday."
                              Cuban Manager Higinio Velez

                              Last edited by Cubano100%; 03-11-2006, 06:38 PM.


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