Cuban fans lament lack of MLB players in their team ahead of World Classic and Caribbean Series
Ahead of the V World Classic and the Caribbean Series, thousands of fans gathered Monday at the Latin American Stadium in Havana, Cuba, chanting the names of Major League Baseball (MLB) players that were not in the diamond.
Yordan Álvarez, Yuli Gurriel and José Daniel Abreu, who have each achieved great successes in the MLB, were the key players in the Houston Astros’ championship in 2022, and have been long-time stars of the Big Top.
It was the first time Cuba had ever summoned three MLB players for the Classic, but their hopes were crushed as none of them answered their phones when coach Armando Johnson tried to contact them.
For 16-year-old Endrinestor Laureiro González, the lack of idols like Yuli Gurriel and Yordan Álvarez was felt, considering that the “best left-handed hitter” was necessary to achieve “good results”.
The team that will debut on March 8 in Taiwan against the Netherlands is met with an atmosphere of sober optimism amongCuban fans, despite the country’s recent years of international setbacks; its last title won was in 2016 in the U15 World Cup.
Enthusiasts hope that at least the team can pass the first phase of the tournament, and 55-year-old Ernesto Lopez believes this would be “a success” for a country that declared baseball its cultural heritage in 2021.
However, the Cuban team’s victory of 10-2 against the Farmers team on Monday raised concern for their representation in the Caribbean Series, as it had already allowed 20 runs in the two games it played, and had no reinforcements.
Journalist Francys Romero estimates that at least 120 Cuban baseball players left the island last year for a better career, which could explain why the Cuban team is unable to perform with its desired strength.