Cuba walked eight hitters, allowed 10 hits and let the game wrap up early. The mercy rule went into effect and play was called after seven innings.
It’s just the second time Cuba has lost a game by the mercy rule. The other was against Taiwan in 1983.
The game ended a nineteen-game winning streak for the Cuban team.
Baseball is a cornerstone of Fidel’s tyranny. Some even theorize that Fidel wouldn’t have become the tyrant he is had he been allowed to play for the Yankees in the 1940s (He tried, and failed to make the team. Imagining Fidel playing side-by-side with DiMaggio in Casey Stengel’s team does boggle the mind, though.) Following the Cold War Soviet Union emphasis on sports, Fidel attaches great symbolism and emotional baggage to baseball. Baseball players are the rock stars, and the greatest celebrities, of Cuba.
The Puerto Rican team and the Puerto Rican audience are well aware of that, and the Puerto Rican team (my home team, that is) played a superb game of psychological impact and great pitching that pounded on the Cuban team
Puerto Rico played as if it had a message to deliver with Williams driving a two-run homer to the back row of the bleachers in right field in the second, Cintron hitting a two-run shot to right in the fourth and Beltran bending a three-run homer around the foul pole in right in the fifth inning.
And then with two out in the seventh, Puerto Rican pitcher José Santiago drilled Cuba’s Juan Carlos Moreno with a pitch, earning both an ejection — for himself and manager José Oquendo — and the respect of his teammates, who were thrown at twice by frustrated Cuban pitchers.
Several friends including Maria sent me the article about the Anti-Castro Sign at Thursday’s Cuba-Netherlands game in the World Baseball Classic, asking how do I feel about the news that WBC Officials Ban Political Posters. It’s fine with me, particularly considering that Puerto Rico Police Chief Pedro Toledo said the police won’t be enforcing the ban;
“I have been clear that here there is freedom of expression and the police of Puerto Rico will not interfere at any time with any type of expression.”
If the WBC officials are doing the enforcing, let that speak for itself. Enrique tells his story at The Real Cuba.
After Enrique’s sign at the Cuba-Netherlands game was confiscated,
An official Cuban communique urged the Cuban team to “respond to the provocations with hits, home runs, strikes, outs.”
So much for that. As we just saw, the following evening the Puerto Rican team’s Carlos Beltran ripped a mammoth three-run homer in the fifth and the game ended in the seventh inning from the mercy rule.
The question now remains how many Cuban players will be able to defect.
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