I am trying to follow the events of the Baseball Classic, thanks to our national television services.
The game between the teams from Japan and South Korea, Cuba’s strongest opponents, took place on Monday March 9. The score was 1-0 in favor of the latter and Japan only had two more opportunities to bat.
The dangerous and emblematic Ichiro, who had already failed on three occasions, hit a single.
The Japanese coach ordered a bunt from the second – and without doubt first-rate – batter of the team, and as a result, presented the opponents with their second out.
I am sure that, for our experienced team, that would have seemed an error whichever basic way it is analyzed.
The Japanese team is excellent; I would like our victory in the Classic to be achieved at the expense of this team; a team that has tremendous technical expertise.
That will not happen if we slide into the carelessness that I observed during the match between Cuba and South Africa on the afternoon of Sunday, March 8.
Both Olivera and Paret were left stunned at first base and Michel Enríquez gave away an out with an irrational advance towards second base after getting a hit, possibly too agitated during his run from the base by the order of the coach.
As could be appreciated, that game would have been won as a knockout in seven innings, with six home runs – two from Cepeda – and a record in the Classics. That would have elevated the well-deserved prestige of Cuban sport.
I allow myself to make this criticism because it concerns three exceptional athletes, with tremendous self-consciousness, but also confidence in themselves.
They know that they are representing wholesome sport in this international competition. I must express my opinions with honesty and admiration.
Fidel Castro Ruz
March 9 2009