Aliet Arzola Lima

Aliet Arzola Lima

Journalist, sports analyst, both in the Cuban and international sphere. Interested in keeping track of the island’s athletes and coaches, regardless of where they are.

Baseball legend Conrado Marrero died in Cuba

Two days before his 103 birthday, the legendary Conrado Eugenio Marrero Ramos died and left vacant the position as the oldest Major League player in the world. “He was breathing, but his eyes were blank ," confessed his grandson Rogelio Marrero to international media outlets minutes after the death of El Guajiro de Laberinto , which set guidelines in the first half of the twentieth century with an exquisite style of pitching, based on the control and the variety of pitches. These details made the "Premier" a real conundrum for opponents, dying before the steep curves that will make dizzy the thousands of fans in the stands stationed just to see an artist of the mound. Unfortunately, I never had my hands on even a fragment of those memorable works, no one saved a gray and rainy video anthology of these duels, when he pitched for the Almendares , the Washington Senators or the Cuban national team. I learnt of Marrero, his exploits, his arm of iron, his longevity in diamonds, from the endless references of my grandfather, who in my first baseball talks used to tell me how he got just three steps away from shaking his hand when...

Baseball Canvas

The baseball season is over and already you feel the silence; because baseball is the reason and the excuse of Cubans to make a fuss, throw a party in any corner, take a TV set to the middle of the street and discuss the good, bad or regular plays. Nothing is more enjoyable in this archipelago than baseball, a colorful show that captures the attention of the fans good part of the year, despite the qualitative deficit of domestic competition, the growing exodus of players and the increasingly strong influence of the Major Leagues, where we are vastly represented. All this I could find in my 22 day tour of Matanzas, Villa Clara, Pinar del Rio and the capital, on the trail of the Cuban postseason, in which Alfonso Urquiola and Pinar del Rio emerged unscathed, rightful champions for the tenth time in history. Urquiola has always referred to the value of the public as a player, and the simple fact is that the interests of the territories involved in contention for the top prize supported endlessly in their respective scenarios, all with dissimilar mosaics in the stands and the surrounding area, where fans enjoyed a high quality show If...

Chapman is made of steel

There is no doubt: Aroldis Chapman is as hard as the fastballs he throws, those who terrorize all major league hitters. The Cuban pitcher, who received a ball in the face last week, has been given medical clearance and already walks with his usual air of grandeur, as if nothing had happened, as if he had not undergone surgery last Thursday to repair a fracture of the left eyebrow. The southpaw of the Cincinnati Reds is made of steel, you could say, because even when he was hit by the liner on Wednesday night and had a moderate concussion, he did not lose consciousness at any moment, even though the drive that came out of the bat Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals catcher, traveled at over a hundred miles per hour, in the opinion of several scouts present in the pre-season game in Surprise, Arizona. He felt pain, of course, fortunately relieved by an avalanche of painkillers supplied by doctors at a hospital in Phoenix, which allowed him to joke with friends who visited him before and after surgery. Sports Illustrated reporter, John Fay said in his Twitter account that Brayan Pena, Reds catcher and one of the first to...

The story of Freddy Asiel Alvarez, step by step

The sports authorities in Cuba recently confirmed that the pitcher Freddy Alvarez Asiel will not work more in the remainder of the 53 National Baseball Series, just as ruled in the penalty enacted last February, after the painful incidents of the game between Matanzas and Villa Clara in the Victoria de Girón stadium. Really, it is no surprise that the measure got ratified, since the commission to review the case did not offer at any time, clues to the possible lifting, without forgetting that the process had been marked by multiple follies and blunders, which, of course, caused the discontent of the athlete and the fans. At this point, it is appropriate to explain every detail, every episode of the story. On February 18, a day after the brawl at the Victoria de Giron stadium, it was publicly announced sanctions to Matanzas Demis Valdés (one year suspension), pitcher Freddy Asiel Alvarez and umpire Osvaldo de Paula, both separated for the rest of this season. On February 25, through a press release, without official status, the National Baseball informs its sanction to Freddy Asiel, who understands (the document allows him) that he has ten working days to appeal. On March 10...

Arruebarruena, welcome to Hollywood

Jon SooHoo has been the official photographer for the Los Angeles Dodgers for 29 years. This Korean was able to snap Kirk Gibson when he hit his memorable homerun during the first match of the 1988 World Series, the starting point for the last title of the team in the Big Leagues. In almost three decades, SooHoo has immortalized in images homeruns, strike outs, errors, catches, triumphs, disappointments and the like by the Dodgers, a centenary franchise in the US baseball. However, of all moments, this journalist and photographer has always had a weakness for spring training, when, after the winter, tens of baseball players start to check in at the headquarters of the organization in Glendale, Arizona, an ideal scenario to plan the first steps in the demanding season of the Big Leagues. Nothing escapes his lens. It is possible to find him in the stadium grandstands or back in the fields, or up in the roofs of the batting cages, always with a mobile device in hand to upload images right away. Nevertheless, last March 13SooHoo moved differently, he was not searching for too much action in the field. Erisbel Arruebarruena, a Cuban player that according to scouts...

Aledmys Diaz joins fever of Cuban shortstops in the MLB

Outside of spring training camp of the St. Louis Cardinals in Jupiter, Florida, a few meters from the grass of the Roger Dean Stadium, the Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz Serrano was introduced by his organization, which last October lost the World Series against Boston. Aledmys, with the number 95 on the back, surrounded by a dozen journalists, thanked the Cardinals, praised the tradition of the team and could not hide the desire to share training with two of his idols: the Puerto Rican catcher Yadier Molina and portentous outfielder Matt Holliday. In his initial practices wearing the Cardinals shirt, he spoke with Coach Jose Oquendo near second base, made some swings in the batting cage and took some grounders at shortstop, all with astonishing naturalness, which greatly pleased the San Luis leaders. "I think he did a lot of things right and knows the game well," manager Mike Matheny, who honored and praised the Cuban’s tools, said, whose claims go through consolidation in the majors as a shortstop like his compatriots Alexei Ramirez ( Chicago White Sox), Yunel Escobar (Tampa Bay), Jose Iglesias (Detroit Tigers) and Adeiny Hechevarría (Miami Marlins). However, this path looks anything but simple, since several talent...

Arruebarruena is already a Dodger

His surname, too long, will tangle the tongue of mid Hollywood, but fans of the Californian city are already rubbing their hands to see at Chavez Ravine ballpark a potential Golden Glove shortstop. We are talking about Erisbel Arruebarruena Escalante, who was born in Cienfuegos, Cuba, and is cousin of Ciego de Avila’s pitcher Vladimir García, a man with hands of silk and a who also owns a missile in his right arm, enough weapons to reach a five-year contract of $ 25 million with the Los Angeles Dodgers, team that seems determined to consolidate a small Cuban colony, to the point that they have sent to Florida his scout Mike Tosar, whose special mission is only Cuba. The squad coached by the legendary Don Mattingly meets in its roster the also Cubans Yasiel Puig, icon of the side, second baseman and shortstop Alex Guerrero and LHP Paco Rodriguez, also of Cuban ancestry. But let’s talk about Erisbel, who closed the official signing of his contract after solving several international legal obstacles and overcoming the rigorous medical examination, but he will not join the Dodgers spring camps until receiving a working visa. For now, "El Grillo" (The cricket), as he...

Arruebarruena goes to the United States

These days, in American baseball people talk about only two things: the imminent start of spring training and the announcement of the retirement of Derek Sanderson Jeter, the star shortstop for the New York Yankees who will hang the gloves after this season. Especially the latter event has grabbed headlines in major newspapers and television on the planet since for nearly two decades Jeter has earned the honor of being considered the face of baseball, not only in the Big Apple, but in the entire universe of balls and strikes. To get an idea of the greatness of Jeter it is worth noting that he began his career in the majors in the distant 1996, when he was proclaimed Rookie of the Year and, last but not least, was elected MVP of the World Series crowning his eternal Yankees for first time since 1978. In general, he has won five World Series rings ( 1996, 1998 , 1999, 2000 , 2009) and is the historical leader of the Yankees in games played ( 2602 ) , at-bats (10 614) , hits ( 3316 ) and stolen bases ( 348). He has also won five Gold Gloves, equal amount of Silver...

The Caribbean Series: Villa Clara with six reinforcements

It really was not necessary, but some people did. Some advocated the idea that Villa Clara would have to go without reinforcements to the Caribbean Series, and now must lament the decision of the team’s coaches and the National Baseball Directorate, who have added six players from other provinces to the Cuban national champion team. In an act of provincial patriotism, as Victor Mesa described it in front of cameras, many were betting on Ramon Moré, Villa Clara manager, will choose to fight for the Caribbean title only with players from the central province, perhaps overlooking the fact all rivals in the upcoming event of Margarita Island, Venezuela, are armed to the teeth, sometimes changing more than 80% of their roster to contend for the top prize. But More, who doesn’t like to lose, knew it was not the best option. Therefore he included in his list of reinforcements the names of Norge Luis Ruiz, Ismel Jimenez, Vicyohandri Odelín , Alfredo Despaigne , José Miguel Fernández and Yulieski Gourriel , which will wear the orange shirt on the return of Cuban squads to the Caribbean Series after 50 years of absence. "It was important to hear the criteria and assessments...

The Gourriel family requests to speak

OnCuba readers were interested in the Gourriel family, who willingly agreed to answer all questions, from the reasons for moving to Havana, the health of Lourdes Senior, the expectations of the three brothers in their new adventure with Industriales team and the welcome in this squad, and their views on the new payment provisions for athletes taken by the Cuban government. The Gourriels have moved into Havana . After decades in his hometown of Sancti Spiritus , where Lourdes shone as a player and three children launched their careers in the sport of balls and strikes, the family has been established in Siboney- known residential area west of the capital, a change of scenery has motivated OnCuba to inquire into the family history, the details of the move, both from their province and team, because in less than a month Lourdes Yunielkis , Yunieski and Yulieski will wear the Industriales flannel after a long time with the the Roosters . What motivated the Gourriels to come to Havana? "I have a dilated left ventricle of the heart, and all this matter began by the studies and treatment I had to perform in Havana. I had to stay home full time...

Cubans at World Boxing Championships in Kazakhstan

This Tuesday started the World Boxing Championship for Cuba in Almaty, Kazakhstan, where super lightweight Yasniel Toledo faced no complications in his fight against an underperforming rival as Palestinian Mohammedalaa Menawi, whom he beat in just 58 seconds by TKO. Thus, Toledo, world runner-up in Baku 2011, began his performance towards improving his previous result, which he considers possible, as he will no longer have to contend against Ukrainian Vasyl Lomachenko, best pound per pound fighter of the last London Olympics. Toledo ’s success opens the victorious path for Cuban Navy, who is seeking in this contest to regain the throne after eight years and three World Cups away from the top. Of course, beyond Toledo, the Cuban squad has other weapons to achieve its goal, especially the push, explosiveness and talent of men who, despite their youth, have already succeeded at the highest level, both in universal championships as Olympics. The team is lead by Cienfuegos´ Robeisy Ramirez (56 kg) and Pinar del Rio´s Lazaro Alvarez ( 60), two stylists with great speed, power and excellent defense, the first one has the responsibility to prove that his title under the five rings in London was not by chance, and...

Cubans aim at the World Series

The Division Series of the Major League Baseball are over and everything is ready for the battles in each of the circuits, with Boston, Detroit, Dodgers and Cardinals as contenders of remarkable history, because all of them show 28 titles combined in the majors. In three of these teams are Cuban players, either by natives of the island or by other players whose roots are tied to Cuba. In the latter group stands out the Cardinals center fielder Jon Jay, who has become a fixed feature in the line-up thanks to its remarkable defense in the outfield and great offensive. However, Jay and St. Louis will have a huge test against the Cuban Dodgers Yasiel Puig, a phenomenon that has unleashed madness at Chavez Ravine as leader of a millionaire roster that for a moment seemed to be a dud after a dismal first month. Precisely at that point emerged Puig, an electric Cienfuegos outfielder that shows off speed, power in the batter's box and power shots from the outfield. His start was dazzling, averaging over 400 for almost two months. After the revolutions decreased he ended with average of 319, 42 RBIs, 19 homers and 11 stolen bases. However,...

Sotomayor: “The best?, That will never come out of my mouth “

Throughout his life, the biggest and only fear of Javier Sotomayor Sanabria were the heights, only that later he conquered the skies and, of course, a perfectly hid his fear, though other details disturb him in his journey through the tracks and still torment him a bit today. "The rain, I could not stand it, I was the worst in the world in the wet tracks," he recalls as we rearrange precisely because at any moment begins a flood and still the 'Soto' has many secrets to uncover between tracks, art and business. "I had differences with my rivals. For example, I attacked the bar very fast in the last steps; I didn’t put my weight on the heels like everyone. I used it to stop, and my last step was large. Theoretically it is said that the three final strides should be more long-long-short, but I did more long-short-long, that was my style and when the track was wet and very slippery it messed up and I saw in obligation cut the last step slow at the conclusion of the exercise, ie jump like everybody else in the world, not as I jumped, "he recalls. " I suffered the...

Another show with 24 hours in mind

It is true that there are many Cuban sports men and women that have no glory to conquer left, but to find one with the constancy and stability of Erick Hernandez is quite complicated, especially because he seems to have no limits. At age 43 he broke three records in one season, an option that he had ruled out for some time. In his latest adventure he shattered his own record dominating the ball from a sitting position with feet only at the Copacabana Hotel, stopping the clocks in three hours, ten minutes and three seconds, above its previous record of three hours, eight minutes and two seconds. In one of the more complex forms of ball control by the huge physical effort, Erick has been devoted to raising the mark on four occasions, one in Bilbao Spain, right where the modality started, since it was the Iberian Luis, "the Bufalito" Sanchez who established the primacy for the first time. Just that Erick in 2010 ousted him and has already raised it four minutes since he managed 3:06.03 hours in hotel Central Park three years ago. Now the attempt had other peculiarities, because not only had to think about controlling...

Cuban Baseball: National Series to kick off in November

After several days of speculations on the beginning of the 53 National Series it is already known that it will begin on November 3rd, a somehow unexpected date, since last year it was decided that the first fortnight of October was the ideal time to hear the longed “play ball” However, a remarkable collaboration between CITMA, the Institute of Meteorology and the Baseball Commission has made the latest come to agree on the need to move further up in the year the starting date due to the high possibilities of rains and hurricanes forecast for next month. It is worth praising whoever came out with the idea, since worldwide is of upmost importance the connection among these entities with the event’s organizers, something that we in Cuba have obviously waited for too long. We will never forget the tortuous playoff two years ago between Industriales and Ciego de Avila that despite ending in just 5 games took almost two weeks to complete; something similar to what happened during the last match for the title between Villa Clara and Matanzas These reasons, as well as multiple games postponed over our National Series, were loudly demanding the use of meteorology specialists who...

Nyad fulfils her dream

It is said that those who persevere, win ... and that is true. One of the biggest proof of that, perhaps, was starred by American swimmer Diana Nyad, who after three failed attempts of crossing Florida Straits, covered the route between Havana and Key West without any protection. Minutes after her arrival in northern soil the president of the United States, Barack Obama , conveyed her through his Twitter account: "Congratulations, never give up your dreams", something about what Nyad has always been convinced; let us say that she has made it a philosophy of her life. "I have three messages. First: we must never give up. Second: you're never too old to try to make your dreams come true. Third: it looks like an individual sport but it really is a team effort, “the veteran athlete declared, exhausted after 52 hours, 54 minutes and 18 seconds swimming. But the prize is unequaled after four failed attempts since 2011, only that now luck accompanied her, because there is no doubt that this is an indispensable factor in a very complicated trajectory. For you to get an idea , Diana swam in an anti-jellyfish suit and used a protective mask for...

Industriales´ games in Miami begin

Veteran players from Industriales who traveled to Miami went to the stadium, first as spectators and then with their mind focused on the games they will play on Friday, August 23 and Saturday 24 in the Alonso High School in Tampa . On Wednesday night, the ten players from the Cuban capital made ​​a visit to Marlins Park, home of the Miami Marlins, who faced the Los Angeles Dodgers, both teams had Cuban presence in the field: Adeiny Hechevarría by the 'fishes' and the sensational rookie Yasiel Puig for the squad from California. As reported by the colleague Yasel Porto from Miami, Vargas, Padilla, Anglada and the others signed autographs all night and shared with their accustomed humbleness with all the fans who recognized them, asking for a picture or just talking about baseball. The fans of Industriales who are now based in Miami had a unique opportunity to share with glorious players who have written in golden pages the history of the most successful Cuban baseball team. "I came here just to see Anglada, Capiró, Medina, etc. I do not care about the Marlins too much, but the Industriales are my life, and those great I mentioned are the...

Orlando Ortega, Robles’s domino effect of Robles

The Cuban delegation that participated in the recent World Athletics Championships returned without one of its members, the hurdler Orlando Ortega, according to the official confirmation released the National Federation of the discipline. Therefore, from now, the 2013 is named as "Year of hardships for Cuban hurdles," at least for those who want our best runners, beyond their thinking or philosophy, to defend the jersey of the four letters on the world of athletics. The denomination is founded and facts are there to prove it. First the former world record holder, Dayron Robles, reappeared on the international tracks racing under no flag, after having requested his dismissal from the national team. Robles ran in several meetings, and his times fell progressively and he signed for French club AS Monaco, for which he will run in the near future, because to compete for any nation he must wait two years after separating from the Cuban Federation. Thus, after the statement exchanges between Robles and Alberto Juantorena, president of the Cuban athletic institution, almost all of us waive him from seeing him race for Cuba, although there may be a tiny, tiny, tinypossibility. Now, as a domino effect, we lose Orlando Ortega, who had not yet attained mastery of Dayron, but had sufficient credentials to be established in the hurdles’ elite. Ortega was banned by the Cuban Federation last July for not attending a competition in Europe, but the entity lifted the punishment before the World Cup, where he ran out of pace, accusing almost a...

Industriales keeps making headlines in Miami

Industriales former stars Juan Padilla, Lazaro Vargas, Javier Mendez, and Rey Vicente Anglada, keep warming up Miami with the 50th anniversary of the blue team, represented in northern soil for ten players who traveled from the Island to meet with other formers stars who are based in the United States. Hundreds of statements   transcend from that city, where the players of the famous Cuban team have participated in discussions, interviews and community activities, including a visit to the Chapel of Charity, the patroness of Cuba. Besides, there have been exchanges with leading figures of the squad that left Cuba decades ago to try their luck elsewhere. As OnCuba  learned, pitcher Rene Arocha, who is in the United States since 1991, has served as one of the main organizers, very at all times to Capiró, Medina, Enriquito, Tony Gonzalez, Ferreiro, Valle and company. Precisely , the right-handed, who played in the majors with the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants, will serve as one of those who support the blue team with Osvaldo Fernandez and first baseman Colina in the coming duels of August 23 and 24 when they face an All Star of Cuban residents in the northern country....

Miami dresses in blue

Happily, Industriales is already in Miami. After some malicious rumors and intentions intending to frustrate the project of ¨Somos Cuba¨ Company, which was focused on celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Havana’s squad, ten retired players came to America with the firm target to further expand the blue fever through the language of baseball. Upon arrival, they were expected by a huge retinue that erupted when seeing again Cuban baseball stars, true symbols of the history of Industriales, lasting over half a century. Among them, the spectacular second baseman Rey Vicente Anglada said he was happy to make the trip, "which I feel will be very good in all respects." "This is a reunion that we owe each other and we just want to hug so many friends and fans who still love us everywhere. We know that there are many followers of Industriales in Miami, and also those who were glad to see us losing. This effort is made for all of them ​​,'' Anglada, visibly excited to reunite with his son, told the Nuevo Herald. From Miami, OnCuba could confirm the extraordinary atmosphere that reigned at the reception, but also knew that there is uncertainty about the game...

Padilla and Vargas assure there will be blue party in the United States

The journey of some veterans of Industriales team to the U.S. for celebrating the 50th anniversary of the blue squad has been an ordeal. But it starts to take shape after some weeks. At least the players will travel on Sunday to Miami. Juan Padilla and Lazaro Vargas, two of its most faithful stars, told OnCuba that this is a unique opportunity to unite players residing in both countries, regardless of their affiliations policies or motivesthey someday had to take certain decisions. "The important thing is to play baseball and show that through baseball, we are capable of overcoming any obstacle. After all, that is the aim of the sport: unifying, promoting and encouraging peace, "Lazaro Vargas said after a training session at the Havana´s Santiago "Changa" Mederos stadium, where a group of ten ex stellar players is training in order to get in the best conditions to Miami. "We've been training since Alejandro Canton, president of ¨Somos Cuba¨, talked to us about his interest and desire of realizing a project to and for baseball, and especially when the reason is celebrating the birthday of Industriales, a team beloved by millions of people in and outside the country, "Padilla, excited about the possibility of realizing a dream, stated. "It will be a great experience for everyone because we all, those from here and there, know the meaning of wearing the jersey of Industriales, and that is just what we will honor those who at some pointdefended these colors, as well as those who were our opponents and lived in a special way those remarkable battles, "Vargas told in clear reference to the games they will have on U.S. soil. In addition to Padilla and Vargas, the other members of Industriales that will travel to USA are the catchers Pedro Medina and Armando Ferreiro, infielders Rey Vicente  Anglada,...

Yuniseski “Riquimbili” Betancourt is in Cuba

A brief break in the majors, just four days, was enough for the baseball player Yuniesky Betancourt to be encouraged to cross the Straits of Florida destination Cuba, to resolve personal issues. That’s what OnCuba learned, and contacted the player-born in Villa Clara, on arrival to the island on Monday, when he said he would not grant any interviews during his short stay. 'Riquimbili' as he is popularly known in the baseball world, took advantage of the break for the All Stars in the United States, held since Monday in the Citi Field stadium in New York, and requested permission from his team, the Brewers Milwaukee, for a quick trip to his homeland and rejoin the franchise on Friday, when action resumes in the Majors. Betancourt, who escaped from Cuba on November 28, 2003, isn’t the first Cuban player based in the U.S. to return to his country, since others such as José Ariel Contreras and Rey Ordonez had traveled to the island after the expansion of immigration policy in October 2012, when the Cuban government announced the possibility of temporary return of thousands of illegal immigrants, professionals, doctors, artists and high performance athletes who fled the country since 1994....

Dayron Robles to run for AS Monaco

No, Dayron Robles is not a soccer player, but until further notice he will compete defending the colors of the French club AS Monaco, worldwide recognized for its soccer power, although in recent years its dominance has diminished, a story that should change in a few months. But first let's talk about Dayron, who has confessed his interest on definitely going to the Stade Louis II to witness a soccer game of his new club and taking pictures with stars of the caliber of RadamelFalcao; his main goal is to show the world that he still retains the qualities that allow him to become Olympic champion and world record holder in the 110-meter hurdles. For a moment, I thought it would cost him a lot to race again due to Alberto Juantorena´s statements on behalf of the Cuban Athletics Federation, in which Dayron was accused of indiscipline andunethical conduct after his involvement in the Primo Nebiolo Memorial in Turin, where he run representing himself. In the event he competed without sponsors and without representing any association or institution, which led to a string of criticism from his native Cuba, supported then by IAAF and its regulation, which specifies that no athlete may participate in international competition unless being affiliated to a club or a country federation. But the novel came to its end , faster than I expected, and Robles, to the delight of many, will jump again to the tracks at the Ville de Reims Athletics Meeting, northern France. " Thank God I belong to AS Monaco and I am very happy. Now I am under the jurisdiction of the French federation and all I want is to compete, "the Cuban hurdler said, whose only immediate outlook isat least getting closer to the records that placed him among the elite . Precisely competing out of shape and leaving a bad image, as happened a couple of weeks ago in Turin, would be the only unforgivable thing for Robles, who hoards class...

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