FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Is Cuban Baseball a Threat to Our National Security?

by MANUEL R. GÓMEZ

Well, the title is a bit of hyperbole, but what is true is that, according to reliable reports in the Dominican press (Nathanael Pérez Neró, Diario Libre, Santo Domingo), the vice-president of operations of Major League Baseball (MLB) , Kim Ng, wrote in early August to the Caribbean Confederation with the arrogant ultimatum that the MLB “gave it one day to rescind the agreement with the Cubans,” or no players with MLB contracts would play in the Confederation-sponsored yearly Caribbean Series, a “world series” of Caribbean teams of great interest to Latin American baseball fans.  The Confederation had recently reached an agreement for Cuba to participate in this event for the first time in more than five decades. 

The Caribbean Series is a yearly tournament that brings together the powerhouse national baseball selections in the region—Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Mexico and the Dominican Republic—for a “world series” of the winter leagues from the Caribbean.  The Series can boast some of the best baseball in the world. Because a very high proportion of the players in it have US major league contracts (for example, more than 80% of the Dominicans), however, the threat effectively told the organizers that they had to throw Cuba out of the event, or those players would not be allowed to play.  And what reason did the MLB give? That the US embargo forbid the Cuban participation, and there allegedly wasn’t “enough time” to obtain the appropriate permits.   Astonishingly, the MLB letter also claimed that they did not not know about the accord until the last minute, despite multiple articles on the MLB’s own website reporting on the negotiations with Cuba as far back as February of 2012, and even an MLB.com article in early June that reported Cuba’s agreement to participate in 2013.  The truth is that no baseball fan on the planet was unaware that Cuba would be coming back to this professional series for the first time in five decades, and neither was the MLB.  It is a far safer bet to conclude that the MLB was told by US authorities to nix the Cuban participation, not that they “didn’t know about it in time.”

One doesn’t have to be a baseball fan to know that Cuban baseball talent would have added greatly to the quality, emotion and excitement of the series, yet it looks like the Cold War dinosaur embargo will keep the Cuban stars from playing, at least this year. Their participation would have been a dream come true for those who follow the sport, as I do.

I suppose I have to assume that the return of a Cuban baseball team to a professional tournament with MLB players must be considered by our authorities to constitute a threat to our national security, since not long ago the State Department persisted in the madness of classifying Cuba as a “state sponsor of terrorism.” Perhaps those dangerous Cuban sluggers have been trained to direct their foul balls to hurt unsuspecting fans, or to use their bats for who knows what subversive terrorist purposes, and our taxes will go to pay our anti-terrorist experts to tail them carefully.  You go figure.

Manuel R. Gómez, a Cuban-American public health professional in Washington, DC, member of the Board of the Center for Democracy in the Americas (CDA), and a member of Cuban-Americans for Engagement (CAFE).

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

August 30, 2016
Russell Mokhiber
Matt Funiciello and the Giant Sucking Sound Coming Off Lake Champlain
Mike Whitney
Three Cheers for Kaepernick: Is Sitting During the National Anthem an Acceptable Form of Protest?
Alice Bach
Sorrow and Grace in Palestine
Sam Husseini
Why We Should All Remain Seated: the Anti-Muslim Origins of “The Star-Spangled Banner”
Richard Moser
Transformative Movement Culture and the Inside/Outside Strategy: Do We Want to Win the Argument or Build the Movement?
Nozomi Hayase
Pathology, Incorporated: the Facade of American Democracy
David Swanson
Fredric Jameson’s War Machine
Jan Oberg
How Did the West Survive a Much Stronger Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact?
Linda Gunter
The Racism of the Nagasaki and Hiroshima Bombings
Dmitry Kovalevich
In Ukraine: Independence From the People
Omar Kassem
Turkey Breaks Out in Jarablus as Fear and Loathing Grip Europe
George Wuerthner
A Birthday Gift to the National Parks: the Maine Woods National Monument
Logan Glitterbomb
Indigenous Property Rights and the Dakota Access Pipeline
National Lawyers Guild
Solidarity with Standing Rock Sioux Tribe against Dakota Access Pipeline
Paul Messersmith-Glavin
100 in Anarchist Years
August 29, 2016
Eric Draitser
Hillary and the Clinton Foundation: Exemplars of America’s Political Rot
Patrick Timmons
Dildos on Campus, Gun in the Library: the New York Times and the Texas Gun War
Jack Rasmus
Bernie Sanders ‘OR’ Revolution: a Statement or a Question?
Richard Moser
Strategic Choreography and Inside/Outside Organizers
Nigel Clarke
President Obama’s “Now Watch This Drive” Moment
Robert Fisk
Iraq’s Willing Executioners
Wahid Azal
The Banality of Evil and the Ivory Tower Masterminds of the 1953 Coup d’Etat in Iran
Farzana Versey
Romancing the Activist
Frances Madeson
Meet the Geronimos: Apache Leader’s Descendants Talk About Living With the Legacy
Nauman Sadiq
The War on Terror and the Carter Doctrine
Lawrence Wittner
Does the Democratic Party Have a Progressive Platform–and Does It Matter?
Marjorie Cohn
Death to the Death Penalty in California
Winslow Myers
Asking the Right Questions
Rivera Sun
The Sane Candidate: Which Representatives Will End the Endless Wars?
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia District Attorney Hammered for Hypocrisy
Binoy Kampmark
Banning Burkinis: the Politics of Beachwear
Weekend Edition
August 26, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Louisa Willcox
The Unbearable Killing of Yellowstone’s Grizzlies: 2015 Shatters Records for Bear Deaths
Paul Buhle
In the Shadow of the CIA: Liberalism’s Big Embarrassing Moment
Rob Urie
Crisis and Opportunity
Charles Pierson
Wedding Crashers Who Kill
Richard Moser
What is the Inside/Outside Strategy?
Dirk Bezemer – Michael Hudson
Finance is Not the Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Bernie’s Used Cars
Margaret Kimberley
Hillary and Colin: the War Criminal Charade
Patrick Cockburn
Turkey’s Foray into Syria: a Gamble in a Very Dangerous Game
Ishmael Reed
Birther Tries to Flim Flam Blacks  
Brian Terrell
What Makes a Hate Group?
Andrew Levine
How Donald Trump Can Still be a Hero: Force the Guardians of the Duopoly to Open Up the Debates
Howard Lisnoff
Trouble in Political Paradise
Terry Tempest Williams
Will Our National Parks Survive the Next 100 Years?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail