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I wouldn't want to be a Cuban baseball player right now

from El Presidente (not Dennis Martinez) -

What was important for the organizers was to eliminate Cuba, a revolutionary country that has heroically resisted and has not been able to be defeated in the battle of ideas. Nevertheless, one day we shall again be a dominant power in that sport...

Sure, that's why Cuba made the finals in the inaugural WBC.

We have gone to sleep on our laurels and we are now paying the consequences. Korea and Japan, two countries which are geographically really far away from the United States, have invested abundant economic resources into this imported, or imposed, sport.

Baseball didn't exactly take off in Germany and Italy after WW2.

Japan, a developed and wealthy country with more than 120 million inhabitants, has devoted itself to developing baseball. Like everything under the capitalist system, professional sports are big business, but national will has imposed rigorous norms on their professional players...

That’s why their pitchers amaze everyone with their ability to land their throws at the exact spots they choose...

He obviously hasn't seen Kei Igawa pitch. Or Dice-K for that matter, who walked more than five per nine in 2008.

No professional Japanese player is allowed to move on to the U.S. Big Leagues, or to any other foreign country, unless he has played for 8 years in the national Japanese league.

In other words: If you're a Cuban baseball player, don't even think of defecting any time soon.

Asians are not as physically strong as their western rivals. Nor are they as explosive. But strength sufficient is not enough to defeat the reflexes that their players have developed; and explosiveness in itself cannot compensate for the methodology and sangfroid of their athletes. Korea has tried to look for more heavily-built men who are capable of hitting more forcefully.

Sounds like the ramblings of your semi-racist grandfather - or an 82-year-old communist dictator. Oh, wait...


(h/t to BBTF)