Thursday, March 19, 2009

There's always next time

Cuba fell to Japan last night, 5-0, and was eliminated from this year’s World Baseball Classic.

The New York Times notes that it’s the first time in 50 years when Cuba has not placed first or second in an international baseball competition. MLB.com coverage is here.

Before the game, Fidel Castro published this commentary where he criticized Cuban players’ habit of not swinging until after the first strike. One has to wonder if his comments caused the Cuban batters to overcompensate last night, as many swung at the first pitch. Japan’s starter threw only 22 pitches against the first nine batters.

For many around the world, the amazing infield play in this video will be the enduring image of Cuban team’s participation in this tournament:

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's a shame no players sought freedom this time. The dictatorship's security apparatus will probably all get bonuses when they get back.

leftside said...

Trying to pin the loss on Fidel is a little low? Swinging at the first pitch makes sense when the guy on the mound is pounding the strike zone with strikes, as Iwakuma was.

Anon, if someone wanted to leave, they could have quite easily. Someone could have walked right up to a police man on the field and asked for asylum.

Anonymous said...

In case no one noticed it, the little boy in the picture above is wearing socks that say "USA."

leftside said...

And Spiderman on his shoes! Infidel!!!

Anonymous said...

he'll be in Miami by the time he's 20...

theCardinal said...

there was no chance of the Cubans beating Japan that day. Dice-K is too much for them. They've never seen pitching like that in their amateur careers. And why all the bemoaning of the Cuban loss. Don't you work for the friggin' Lexington Institute - shouldn't you be at least acknowledging the US team that managed to get farther than the Cubans? You're being a punk.

I for one was hoping the Cubans lost...except if they faced Puerto Rico...better REd than Rican

leftside said...

Fidel was right. The 3 best teams in the world are Cuba, Japan and Korea. Why would MLB put all 3 teams in the same bracket?

Anonymous said...

Cuba was great before when they faced college kids who had not played together but for a few weeks. The Cuban players were not amateurs as the Cuban claimed, but well seasoned players who played together for years and that is all they did all year around. When they faced real baseball players like Japn they folded like a wet leaf. The Cuba players loked slow and overweight while the Japanese were fast runners and light on their feet. The myth of the Cuban baseball was just that. A myth created by the the Revolution just like the wonderful health care and magnificent education. There are two great propaganda machines in the world. Coca-Cola is one. The Cuban Revolution is the other. The Cuabn revolution is pure propaganda to hide ineptitude and mismanagement in all spheres of human endeavor besides hiding the absence of human rights and freedoms.

leftside said...

Anon, of course, the WBC and its inclusion of professionals is a significant change in the level of competition. But Cuba showed it can certainly hang with the best of em - beating Puerto Rico and the DR in 2006 - lineups stacked with MLB talent. Japan and Korea have moved up in the world. Cuba has not stepped up its game at the same level. Throwing hundreds of millions at the game - as Korea and Japan has done - certainly helps.

Anonymous said...

anon
and the cuban revolution eats babies too. boy, how tiresome, how typical, and how totally boring. get back to us in another 50 years. propaganda? try the US mass media -- see Iraq.
wait, you're right, the Cuban health care isn't as good as the universal health care that the US has....nevermind.

Anonymous said...

hey anon, the next time you need surgery go ahead and head to Cuba and get treatment that ordinary Cubans get...not the theme parks set aside for tourists and other fellow travelers.

Anonymous said...

anon 7:12
who said i was a tourist? have been to cuba many times for dental and medical treatment. next time you go to Honduras and try and get any treatment, unless you got the money. Cuba's health care is based on access to all, despite the shortages and problems I'd rather have that concept than the one that says you rich you get better, you not you die. For a third world country Cuba's system is so much more preferable, (yeah, yeah, I know here comes the "but they have no medicine etc" response.) Take it away gusanos.

cabron said...

That's your response? to compare Cuba to Honduras? 50 years of Castroism and you're left to compare Cuba -- a country whose standard of living was once higher than several now-EU countries -- to Honduras? Stop digging, anon, your holes only getting deeper...

Anonymous said...

please explain how cuba's standard of living was once higher than several now EU countries. Havana's standard maybe, but the country as a whole, not. Please stop making up facts to suit your opinion. If you don't know what Cuba was like, the reality, before the revolution, then please stop spewing misinformation. The comparison with Honduras was with it's relative health services, nothing more. NIce try though, not.

Anonymous said...

you idiot, it's according to the United Nations social and economic indices of the time. Do some research and educate yourself. Was Cuba perfect? Of course not, moron, but Cuba in 1959 had a higher standard of living than Spain. Look it up.

leftside said...

Cuba in 1959 had a higher standard of living than Spain. Look it up.

Not even close. You are referring to the one oft-quoted metric- infant mortality. This was after 15 years of Franco's "anti-communism", where public health was a bad word in Spain. It's true health care in pre-Castro Cuba was not so bad. It was denied to most of the poorest, but the working poor could usually afford to pony up. Today it is all free and Cuba has a better infant mortality than the United States.

cabrĂ³n said...

BS, leftside. Your ignorance is boundless. Look up the work of scholars Norm Luxenburg or Nick Eberstadt. And before you try to argue that they are "paid CIA agents," they cite the U.N.'s own statistics from that time in a whole range of metrics.

Was Cuba perfect in the 1950s? Of course not, there was a revolution for goodness sake. But let's please dispense with the regime's carefully cultivated mythology.