The Cuban Team lost the Caribbean league in the stickiest way in which a national squad has ever done it. To add insult to injury one week later arrived to Havana Barry Larkin and Ken Griffey Jr. and nobody cares about it. They are from United States of America, but they were not invading our city, they were not taking by assault the harbors of the port or the headquarters of the National Institute of Sports, and for sure, Goodness, they were not going to put a bomb in our colorful International Book Fair.
They were not messengers of a sinister conspiracy, they were ex Big Leaguers, loaded with noble purposes, but the Cuban sport authorities with an invincible gesture of who-cares, completely ignored them. The intention of both was to have a friendly chat like equals “that’s what we want with the Americans, no?”But, neither of them was outspoken enough as to be taken into account. Even though, they attended sport fields to give their batting clinics.
When they asked Griffey Jr. why he has chosen Cuba, he answered: Why not? It was the wrong step. Nobody warned “The Natural” that his intentions of donating baseball stuff, making friends, giving some advices, were not enough. Perhaps if he or Larkin have declared that Obama failed, or that the blockade of Cuba is lacking of reasons, something that sound like music to our ears, maybe the super heads of our sports should waken up earlier and they hadn’t come up with a ridiculous “we don’t care” when they were asked to answer the generous visit of both players, at least with a minimum of deference, with a brief welcome ceremony.
But, not even then. Three years ago Fernando Sigorini, the physical trainer of several Argentinean soccer selections, among them the one from Mexico 86 and Mauro Navas, former midfielder in first category European clubs such as Lazio, dropped by Havana. I was the one who interviewed them and the degree of utopia they had for the Cuban reality was such that I got petrified. They were thinking they could carry on their projects here. Both thought of the island as a paradise free of Neo-liberalism, a virgin land, free of the unmerciful laws of the soccer market, out of the crazy rhythm of exchange and merchandise.
They were right. Cuba was free of all that, but what nobody explained to them was that those uncultivated field had been invaded by the “marabou forest” of decrepitude and bureaucracy, by those people using ties that speak about the sport movement as if they were making allusion to something more inclusive, democratic, rational and not to those plague of infection and even unskillful attitudes of Russian kulaks. But let them run, the impetuous time of the revolution will catch on those big turkeys of the sports. They are going to get old sitting in the exile of Havana porch with nothing to say, looking how the lines get blurred and the sarcastic spiral of the history is one full lap ahead of them.
Meanwhile Signorini and Navas delivered their message even in the Round Table. They left Cuba, still waiting for an answer, but they were never invited again. Today we know nothing about them. The Cuban soccer is still a bad joke, without having mover not even an inch, without adding a corner or a goal of certain quality; we can say that the Cuban soccer never has been so close to the baseball.
It was lucky that neither Larkin nor Griffey Jr. followed what was happening in the Caribbean League of baseball. Both came with the idea of getting involved, to get soaked with the mystical waters of the Cuban baseball. But gentlemen, that is exactly what we lost. Cuban ballplayers don´t know what they are playing, they don’t have an objective. They are not having fun, they don´t give all of themselves. They are lacking skills and compromise. They are boring and predictable. They are street-wise tough guys.
Vladimir García doesn’t get tired of hitting Ramón Lunar with his pitches, after that puts a hand on his testicles, abroad he asks the ball against Netherland and then he is not capable to stay in the mound because of the number of hit he allows. It is the same; it is possible that he will get to his retirement in Ciego de Avila convinced that he made History. It is so mentioned that this generation of baseball players got to believe that to make history they only need to win a Play Off in the island or a tournament in Rotterdam. They have lost the perspective of the merit, the rigor.
They have been raised between the middle and the cheap satisfaction. The measures with they are happy with –take a look otherwise at Yuliesky Gourriel- he has the same measures as an ovation in some national stadiums. The big jump he will give in his life – I am not suggesting the migration, please, because we have to let things clear to you- is to be moved to this flavorless Industriales, and still there are some considering that as a risky act. The worst is that the kid, after playing too much video game, still believes in it.
Gourriel possesses an immensurable talent. He is not boring (Despaigne, for example, seems to be the husband of Emma Bovary), has style to give away, I enjoy watching when he is playing, but he is an icon of the epoch. The mystic was taken from him. The little bit of ambition. He doesn´t know what´s that, lacks focus, he is a victim from head to toe, a verse to be chased. With the winnings of the sale of Gourriel’s soul to Mephistopheles the Cuban federation of baseball keeps alive its asphyxiating ruling.
He is going to keep forever, silly, almost without explanation, possessed by the third baseman’s god, erring on harmless ground balls in the ninth inning, because in the world of sports sometimes there is justice and the supreme commands are not going to allow our victory, neither can Gourriel aesthetic, his five tools, disguise the rubble, make up the demagogy and the middle concerns of our fatty officials.
Cuba lost in Isla Margarita in such a way not deserved by its quality. We could have lost with more dignity, we are better, with much more potential of what we showed, but the game is taking us to the limits of evidence, in the verge of absurdity, after having warned us more than once.
We, the majority of the fans, have become a screaming group out of focus. People from Havana think that Industriales would play a better role. Some poor Villa Clara fans, so-called veterans of the war of 68 believe that Yeniet Perez, a second-call third baseman, would have accomplished a better presentation than Gourriel, or Andy Sarduy, small filling baseball player, showed with one fielding that he deserved to be in the initial roster instead of Jose Miguel Fernandez.
Some poor people from Villa Clara believed that the team belonged to them, an ingenuous thesis can only been explained by the provincialism of our philosophy, the lack of steel in the character of our baseball today, and our feelings tied to a false representation that is nothing more than fear to change, minor of age, all of that, if we believe that the baseball still define us, we are closer to El Zanjón than to Baraguá.
The hard-core Villa Clara fans, the most patriots, had not the reason, but even if they would have it, yet, they have already learnt that nothing belong to us. Even what is yours is hanging in a weak strand. We were up to sacrifice our pleasure; we got as far as to ask that the Cuban team would lose at once, as immolation in the name of the future. But it is not the results what we have to omit. Believe that the First World Classic performance, something that produced such happiness, enhanced us and prejudiced in long terms, it is coward opinion, the substantiation of a naughty country that doesn´t know how to discern between method and talent, between cause and random, and that, no without maniqueism ignore how to take an advantage of the mistakes that live in each title and the goods that are in the lapse.
The success of an ideology –also that the ideology never ends- depends in thousand things before a double play. And this is also good for those who hoist the performance of Lazo and Yadel Marti as a guaranty of the socialism triumph as fake prophets that now see in Isla Margarita a confirmation of a failure. Nothing looks more to a Trojan than a Tirian.
I disagree with sacrificing my pleasure to see if those supposed blinds open their eyes. I would like to pass to semifinals till last moments; non federative or any other announcer had achieved, till now, to take from me that millimeter of irrationality, that feeling before the loss. Wins Cuba or not our baseball is passing away. We have already had lot of things proven that as to think in the failed of the Cuban team in the Caribbean Series shows something we didn´t know before.
We blame it on Moré, on Victor Mesa, we blame it on the election of reinforces, we accuse the before starting (all a delicious the theme of the before starting during four days). Those shootings to the air of the fans, I am afraid, are equally bad. Perhaps neither ourselves have the reason, pointing to sportsmen or directors that can do nothing, because it is not a problem of players or managers. We condemn to Odelin even worse than to everybody and it is him who is giving back the honor and give us also a sovereign slap in the face. Conclusions? Our suppose references are neither Freddy Asiel Álvarez nor Vladimir García, or the already dead pitcher Yadier Pedroso, neither the pinch pitcher Norge Luis Ruiz who will stay in Cuba, I gamble, just a few years.
The millions he is worthy is something with Cuba can´t go into competition, but our methods add speed to the abandons. The character of Higinio Vélez results to me truly uncomfortable, it gets me sneezing, but Vélez is a pawn, it is more worthy if we forget him. His fault will be in any case no to quit yet by this time, not to safe his personal decorum, or not to assume any worthy initiative, but not to hoist during years a policy that does not go through his hands neither depends on his person.
Vélez also could have received Griffey Jr., whose 630 homeruns would be enough, if he wishes, even for a political career in his country. But Griffey Jr. wasn’t thinking of taking the position of Vélez. Griffey Jr. didn´t want to dispute the microphone with Rodolfo García or another skillful deceitful announcer. Griffey Jr. was making a favor to us and not us to him. In just two days, as it is known he discovered some mistakes in the mechanics of Gourriel’s batting and corrected the position of the feet in a child of twelve years who after the advise started to blast baseballs to the center field.
Perhaps he will be that baseball player who saves us in ten years, but if he is not, already Griffey Jr. and Barry have done more for the Cuban baseball than its directors and announcers. At the same time the Granma newspaper of the last February 12 seems to say that the disaster of the Cuban female volleyball, nine consecutive defeats in the Great Prix, is due to the lack of responsibility of the girls.