Urmani Guerra went 3-for-3 with a trio of RBIs to lead the Granma Horses to a 12-2 romp over the Artemisa Hunters Wednesday afternoon in Cuban National Series action.
The Horses roughed up Artemisa starter Jose Luis Padron (1-2) early with four runs in the opening frame, and chased the right-hander with another four-run frame in the third.
For the third straight year of split-season league play, Cuba held its nationally televised player dispersal draft on Christmas night, this time with a new wrinkle. For this year’s National Series #54 edition the mid-year selection of reinforcement players from the eight eliminated teams was expanded from five to seven rounds and thus also from the original 40 to a new total of 56 ballplayers.
Major League Baseball authorities are closely following the agreement reached by Cuba and the United States to re-establish diplomatic relations, though the embargo will continue to prevent Cuban baseball players from reaching the league in a normal, straightforward way.
“MLB is closely following the White House announcement,” the US League declared Wednesday through a communiqué, adding it did not have enough details about the decision to offer an assessment.
There have indeed been many bizarre, improbable, almost credibility-stretching games played in the Cuban League over the past half-century of “revolutionary” baseball. In fact it might well be claimed that if the post-1962 Cuban circuit is truly unique among the world’s top professional leagues then it remains so above all else for its rare mixture of the improbable and unlikely with some of the most dazzling on-field action found anywhere in the baseball universe.
José Abreu’s celebrated Rookie-of-Year trophy has so far had little time to gather much dust and already a highly publicized search has been launched across Major League Baseball camps for what will hopefully be the next Abreu, or next Yasiel Puig, or at the very least perhaps the next Rusney Castillo or Jorge Soler.
It was a long-awaited baseball resurrection of sorts and it most appropriately came in an event Cuba has so long dominated. The Central American Games tournament, first held in Mexico City in 1926, has now crowned the Cubans as it baseball champions 15 times in only 22 sessions – a even more meaningful domination when one remembers that Cuba sat on the sidelines (mostly for political reasons) twice in the 1950s and twice more during the past dozen-year span (2002 and 2010).