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What is wrong with Cuban baseball?

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  • What is wrong with Cuban baseball?

    The traditionally powerful Cuban baseball team lost to the Puerto Rican team 3-2 during the tournament in the Netherlands yesterday. They've been losing frequently lately. Sure the rest of the world has improved but their best team lost to a weakened Puerto Rican team. Most of the best Puerto Rican players are playing in MLB or minor league baseball during the summer.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Richard View Post
    The traditionally powerful Cuban baseball team lost to the Puerto Rican team 3-2 during the tournament in the Netherlands yesterday. They've been losing frequently lately. Sure the rest of the world has improved but their best team lost to a weakened Puerto Rican team. Most of the best Puerto Rican players are playing in MLB or minor league baseball during the summer.
    A lot of good players have defected. Also since cuba is a communist country the sports system is tailored towards olympic medals (political propaganda reasons). this means since baseball is banned from the olympics probably now there is much less money and youth player developement then before.

    another reason might be that fidel is gone who was a huge baseball fan and probably put a lot of money into baseball.
    I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by dominik View Post
      A lot of good players have defected. Also since cuba is a communist country the sports system is tailored towards olympic medals (political propaganda reasons). this means since baseball is banned from the olympics probably now there is much less money and youth player developement then before. Another reason might be that fidel is gone who was a huge baseball fan and probably put a lot of money into baseball.
      I believe that since the talent seems the same (Gourriel, Bell, Despaigne, etc.), and since Cespedes also jumped straight to the Majors (like Alexei Ramirez, never before done), that the Cubans are depressed. They see players defecting, they see Puig getting 42 million, they see Raul Castro in Asia trying to change the system towards State Capitalism, they see Pedro Luis Lazo living in Cuba but playing in the Mexican League and earning a lot more than the stay-at-homes, well, it tends to disharten you...

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      • #4
        I think it is just a changing of times. With the classic, baseball out of the olympics and the cuban ideals changing baseball players in cuba want something different. The system in cuba is very controlled. And I personally think players want some freedom to choose. Before in the 90s the cuban baseball team was a mystery but a powerhouse. Today they are see as a extremely good team but their mystic is fading. They are beatable even by minor leaguers.

        I dont know about how the quality has faded. But I just think it is harder to keep a team together. The fear of players defecting is terrible for a manager and I am sure some organisers dont want to let certain players on the team. I am remember chapman being excluded from the team for certain events because he tried to defect.

        Also I think it is just because the world is getting better and the game especially international game is changing. Before you wouldn't see minor leaguers in some games. Japan and Korea have made huge strides.

        I know some cuban athletes and coaches here in Venezuela. ANd they said that cuba has bigger problems then their sports culture. I see some changes in cuba in the next 10 years that would have never have been dreamed off. Hopefully cuban baseball can get back on track because they are one of my favorite teams.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by quinnystar27 View Post
          Before in the 90s the cuban baseball team was a mystery but a powerhouse.
          Actually, no. They just kept playing amateurs from Costa Rica, Spain and Guatemala and pro rejects from Puerto Rico, Venezuela and the Dominican. And using metal bats to boot. It was infuriating, actually.

          That does not mean that they did not have great talent; it's just that they never developed it by playing against the best. Who knows what real heights Linares, Pacheco, Gourriel, the Mesas, Kindelan, etc. might have reached? We will never know.

          Also, forget the propaganda and stupid lies like winning 114 consecutive games etc.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by titorondon View Post
            Actually, no. They just kept playing amateurs from Costa Rica, Spain and Guatemala and pro rejects from Puerto Rico, Venezuela and the Dominican. And using metal bats to boot. It was infuriating, actually.

            That does not mean that they did not have great talent; it's just that they never developed it by playing against the best. Who knows what real heights Linares, Pacheco, Gourriel, the Mesas, Kindelan, etc. might have reached? We will never know.

            Also, forget the propaganda and stupid lies like winning 114 consecutive games etc.
            Well cuban has done decent against pro teams in the past. The orioles for one. And they beat a MLB loaded Dominican Squad and Venezuelan squad in the first classic.

            I think there was a lot of propaganda about the cuban team, that gave them a superman feel. I honestly thought that the skills of Gourriel and others in the past were exaggerated.

            Your right though that they didn't play elite level competition all the time so their skills diminished or just didn't develop the same. But I think in some past international competitions there was a mystic about them. I remember in the 2000 and 2004 olympic there was a lot of talk about how good the cuban squad was and what they could bring. I remember cubans in Miami talking about lack of scouting on the cuban team and greatly overstating their abilities saying that all players on the roster could be #4 hitters in the MLB and better pitching the clemens. Obviously this was exaggeration by cuban americans.

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            • #7
              Nicaragua also beat the Baltimore Orioles, in 1980 (one win, one tie); the Orioles had half their team. Does not mean much...

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              • #8
                Originally posted by titorondon View Post
                Nicaragua also beat the Baltimore Orioles, in 1980 (one win, one tie); the Orioles had half their team. Does not mean much...
                Fair enough but what about a Dominican loaded and Venezuelan loaded WBC teams? Surely striking out some of the best hitters in MLB gives the cuban team some serious credit.

                Though they are not that incredible anymore. In fact I think their #1 ranking in IBAF is a huge courtesy because I think Korea or Japan should be at the top.

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                • #9
                  I think Cuba has excellent players. I have been following reports on the Cuban team from Major League scouts since 1972. Mostly, the propaganda has been brutal. But there is no denying the great talent of many of those stars (and often the scouts were not awed by the same players the fans were).
                  Most of the propaganda was centered on the Cuban National Team of the 70s, 80s and 90s; strangely enough, since 1999 when pros started facing the Cubans, the "star making" machinery has been silent, as if they knew. Remember that in 2006 Panama almost eliminated Cuba; in 1999 Canada (one defeat) was eliminated by Cuba (two) from participating in the Olympics.
                  Cuban friends tell me all the propaganda in Cuba now favors soccer, and strangely enough, is centered around the pro teams Real Madrid and Barcelona. It is as if the Cuban government does not expect much from "el Cuba" anymore.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by titorondon View Post
                    I think Cuba has excellent players. I have been following reports on the Cuban team from Major League scouts since 1972. Mostly, the propaganda has been brutal. But there is no denying the great talent of many of those stars (and often the scouts were not awed by the same players the fans were).
                    Most of the propaganda was centered on the Cuban National Team of the 70s, 80s and 90s; strangely enough, since 1999 when pros started facing the Cubans, the "star making" machinery has been silent, as if they knew. Remember that in 2006 Panama almost eliminated Cuba; in 1999 Canada (one defeat) was eliminated by Cuba (two) from participating in the Olympics.
                    Cuban friends tell me all the propaganda in Cuba now favors soccer, and strangely enough, is centered around the pro teams Real Madrid and Barcelona. It is as if the Cuban government does not expect much from "el Cuba" anymore.
                    Coaches from cuba here in venezuela tell me that cuban officials feel kind of beaten. A lot of elite players have left. And defection is very embarrassing for the country. Baseball is the sport for cuba but players are starting to realize there are more opportunities outside and feel the level of play is getting stale.

                    I think cuba is still a top 5 team a good portion of their future players have left. I am really interested to see how they do in this upcoming classic.

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                    • #11
                      Cuba doesn't have the benefit of 30 major league clubs operating within like the DR and Venezuela (not anymore) do. Their is nothing like major league instruction and development except maybe Japanese instruction .The DR and Venezuela did not start to produce dozens of players a year until MLB intervened several decades ago.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Richard View Post
                        Cuba doesn't have the benefit of 30 major league clubs operating within like the DR and Venezuela (not anymore) do. Their is nothing like major league instruction and development except maybe Japanese instruction .The DR and Venezuela did not start to produce dozens of players a year until MLB intervened several decades ago.
                        To be exact, until Rafael Avila and Epi Guerrero in the Dominican and Andres Reiner in Venezuela instituted the Academies system. Thank goodness MLB listened!

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