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 here and now, I’m still in recovery, they summoned me monthly for checkups, “Lourdes senior says, the chief of the tribe .
“Traveling once a month from Sancti Spiritus is greatly complicated by the cost of fuel, note that the distance between the capital and the province is over 350 kilometers, a distance of three or four hours and, in contrast, in this house we are ten minutes from CIMEQ Hospital, where he is receiving treatment, “said Olga Castillo, Lourdes wife and mother of the three brothers.
“I’m still not quite right. A few days ago I had the opportunity to go to work for Nicaragua but doctors still will not let me meet these commitments. This is a long slow process, which prevents me from time to run any team or workout, “Lourdes argues.
However, moving to Havana due to the disease led to the desire for their children to be with him, because they have always been a very close family. “For my boys my health has been ahead of all, they would not leave me alone and at some point they expressed a willingness to move away from the ball and take time to accompany me. Thank God we found a solution and now they accompany me and can continue their career, “he says.
Following this, many expressed support for the exchange, but did not understand that the three brothers could also play with Industriales, something that disturbed them little according to Lourdes Jr., known in the family as Yuni. “We had many problems with the paperwork; we could not even participate in the Provincial Series, here or there, or train in an organized way, with a working group. Given the delay by Santi Spiritus authorities we asked to even play in Havana Provincial, but it was impossible. The release was given to us three days before starting to train with Industriales and that raised much more controversy, especially among people who did not understand of course we got to play without the backing of a previous tournament. But once in the team we met each stage and each deletion on equal footing with the other blue players,” the youngest of the family, very relaxed and talkative said.
Once in the capital, the three are aware of the challenge that playing at the Latino or any other stadium with the blue flannel entails, especially for Yunieski and Lourdes Jr., who have not secured a place in the main lineup. “That was a risk we had to take, and we made a decision and we can only deal with it. In Sancti Spiritus we also started from scratch and at least we come here with several seasons and playoffs games as experience, even Yuni who is the least experienced “,the oldest of the brothers considered.
In this regard, Lazaro Vargas, manager of Industriales, said the three boys bring to their team in baseball essential elements: speed, defense and power, so it is not unlikely that at some point of the regular season all three make the starting lineup of the Lions.
“I do not think it at first, but it can happen,” Lourdes Jr. trusts, while Yunieski says,” it will be very difficult for the quality and talent of the new teammates, but I hope it happens, we would feel more comfortable. “
How do you think your first official at-bat with Industriales will be ?
“I have not thought of that, I cannot imagine it “Yulieski finally speaks, the more reserved and introverted. “I guess I feel a little pressure as every first round in a tournament, not only because it is with Industriales, with Sancti Spiritus it also happened to me. Yes, sure it will be nice and I’ll never forget it. “
Meanwhile, Lourdes Jr. Yunieski foresees tension, because “even though I have been playing ball for a long time it is a new team, a new group of fans, with higher demands, with full stadiums almost always. Now when it starts everything is normalized and you take your own pace. “
On the blue players have helped them the most to join the group, Yunieski highlights Stayler Hernandez, his “lifelong friend” who always supported him, even since they were rivals. “It has been my companion through thick and thin. He sent me messages when I wasn’t doing things right, advised me and now we are very close here. Just a while ago I was sleeping and Stayler called me to go to a game between children and there I was with him, we have a very strong relationship. “
Lourdes Jr., for his youth, claims not to know quite a lot of members of the Inudstriales roster, but since his arrival he has pervaded well with Raiko Olivares. “I’m shocked by his way of being, solidarity, support, advice, and Vargas, who says only the essentials, speaks at the right time and is a great person on and off the field. He promotes community; details that can affect that, beyond weaknesses in certain points of the game, the team succeed and achieve the qualification. “
Is the clash with his former colleagues?
“Sure they are not going to clap – Lourdes father expressed, we go with an enemy team. The same happened when we came to Havana with Sancti Spiritus. “
“We had a lot of time defending the Roosters and trying to achieve a championship for those fans, something that unfortunately failed. Now is the time to wear another shirt and do it very professionally, but when they finish games we will greet all the friends we have over there, ” Yulieski argues while Yuni believes ” it will be an interesting match, especially by pressure the audience, who thought we just wanted to come and play with Industriales, that it had nothing to do with my dad’s illness, something absolutely false.”
On the possible damage caused to the Santi Spiritus team by the absence of three men who contributed more than 200 hits, 100 runs scored and RBIs and 30 homeruns, Lourdes, who led this team for several years, says that athletes are necessary but not essential, and now is the opportunity for other valuable and quality players to emerge in the province.
Precisely, Lourdes Jr., who suddenly emerged and impressed in his rookie season, remembers that playing with his brothers and be led by his father, all at the same time, was one of the motivations to enter the baseball universe. “From tiny in my house we were talking baseball only, my brothers, my dad, my mom … The first thing they did was put a bat in my hands, taught me things related to baseball, going to the stadiums. I then wanted to match them in the same team. “
In this regard, Yunieski said that he grew up watching ball. “I had my own idol, my dad, but he played a passive position as leftfielder or first baseman, and I liked the mobility, so I followed Victor Mesa, because of his explosive way of playing … and then, life gave me the opportunity to be, like him, a center fielder. “
You are distinguished by fielding the ball below your waist, something that many people do not like. Are you afraid of the reproaches now that you face fans as demanding as those of Industriales?
“I’ve been here a while now and I think you can say that people are liking my way of fielding , before criticizing me but now not so much. However, the public should suit my style, I have created this habit, maybe it’s something that should not be done, but so far I have been successful. One day I can drop the ball, because it happens to anyone, but I feel incredibly more comfortable fielding below as above. “
What are your impressions about the new payment provisions decreeds by the Cuban government and the authorization to sign contracts with foreign teams?
“It’s a great idea, very good. Many players were thinking of not even playing anymore, there was no motivation whatsoever. You were a champion and nothing happened. Now with this stimulus things are being faced with another provision, with more enthusiasm, something that started since last year with the Gala Awards of individual leaders and the presence of the champion in the Caribbean Series, ” Lourdes Jr. says, who has been fortunate enough to play without adequate remuneration only for a couple of years, quite the opposite of his father.
“This idea should influence a lot, is a stimulus that boys have, now at least be able to give something to the family. Before we had nothing to subsist on, the salary was very poor, we were located in companies in which we could be because we did not produce maximum remuneration. Now you fight and you know that if you reach a goal you have a prize, is a very positive decision, “Lourdes father says.
Meanwhile, Yunieski , who has played more than ten campaigns, ensures that this is a major change in the sport. “Often the ballplayer is the idol of the family and could hardly help, that role fell on an uncle or other relative with higher incomes or living abroad. Now we ourselves can help our family with the work we do. “
Following that line is Yulieski , who by his popularity and recognized level may well receive offers to integrate any professional leagues set in any corner of the planet. “It’s a good chance they have given us, something that we were waiting a few years ago, to have a chance to prove in another baseball and try to improve . We have several years playing here, we know almost all pitchers, one wants to experience, to know who is actually far can give.
“Upon payment to players of the National Series, this is a great choice for players that deserve the reward for so much effort for so many years playing no matter not receive adequate pay, and in many cases rejecting offers lot of money in other countries, “Yulieski concludes.
Beyond Gourriel is Olga Castillo, the mother, somewhat complicated role by spending so much time away from her own people and undertake alone, largely the education process of their children.
“Moreover, I always support them in difficult times, I am emotional support in good times and bad, and that they value. Boys are very quiet; no work, no headaches, ” Olga says.
“I’m almost as if in Sancti Spiritus, perhaps with a little more hustle, but comfortable, especially because of the proximity of the hospital and physicians,” Lourdes says, although his wife by setting differences from its previous stage in the central province.
“Here my life is more peaceful, because there were in a central location; we received visits constantly, never calm. We are now further apart and not much noise, “Olga said, supported by their children.
“We didn’t have hours of rest, here we are more distant, we have more time to rest, to do what we love, that is watching TV and playing Play Station”, all the three brothers said, maybe a little desperate to go to a game of MVP after nearly an hour of dialogue.