This year’s renewal of the long-anticipated Cuba-USA “friendly series” has looked pretty one-sided if one stares only at box scores or printed game results. Four straight nail-biting one-run losses at the hands of the American collegians is certainly not what either the collective Cuban fandom or the Cuban Federation baseball brain trust had in mind.
Finally we have escaped all the pre-series hype – all the idle chatter concerning Cuban player defections, speculations on untested potentials for major league celebrity and lavish professional paychecks, or reports of ominous packs of unscrupulous North American player agents circling a well-guarded Cuban camp – and at long last we have moved on to pure baseball as provided by the amateur sport at its very best.
On the eve of the summer’s second important international event Team Cuba already faces what is becoming an all-too familiar scenario – a mound corps reduced to bare minimum before the first pitch is tossed and the first bat swung. Villa Clara southpaw Misael Silverio left the team hotel in West Des Moines on Tuesday evening to pursue his dream of joining the North American professionals and eventually earning his fortunes with Major League Baseball. The defection came shortly after the team’s arrival via tour bus from their original USA arrival point in Chicago.