Cuban Baseball Welcomes Agreement With The United States

Havana (AP) — Cuba’s new baseball manager will welcome the reopening of the agreement with the US Major League Baseball and the orderly flow of star players to avoid dangerous illegal spills and escapes.

“The best baseball in the world is played in the US MLB (Major League),” Juan Reinaldo Perez, the new president of the Baseball Federation of Cuba, told The Associated Press.

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“Many players want to play there. Even Cuba agrees that there is a systematic flow of mutual agreement between the player here to play in MLB and the other players who can play in Cuba. “I am,” Perez added.

The 49-year-old leader is the successor to Ihinio Beres, who died of complications from COVID-19 in May 2021. Beres led the Cuban team, who won the Olympic gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

The country of the Caribbean Sea is a baseball powerhouse and has produced important figures throughout its history, but in recent years, the withdrawal of figures such as José Abreu, Aroldis Chapman, and Yuli Gurriel (game in progress, etc.) Some people even travel to traffickers) have undermined their activities.

Players are often tempted by millionaire contracts on professional circuits. When they escape in the middle of a competition, the rules do not allow them to return to practice sports on the island.

In addition, the economic crisis exacerbated by US sanctions on the island has affected infrastructure (maintenance of stadiums, lights, clocks and other equipment) and logistics budgets.

An agreement between the Major Leagues and the Cuban Federation was negotiated during the Beres administration, and thanks to the historic reconciliation between Havana and Washington that began in 2014, but the arrival of Republican Donald Trump as president. And invalidated the policy agreement to radically strengthen sanctions on the island. Current US President Joe Biden has not changed his actions.

Such an agreement “will avoid many problems,” Perez said, as the collapse of the agreement “has made Cuban fighters who want to play in MLB play illegally.” “Athletes around the world (not just Cuba) want to challenge his best league and each must be placed at the level that corresponds to him,” he added.

At the beginning of the Cuban Revolution’s victory, athletes and sports authorities abandoned professional paying activities, and for decades their movement has been stigmatized, but from the last decade, not only baseball, but also high performance. Athletes go abroad without leaving the island.

Currently, eight players from the Caribbean are playing in Japan, the second best league in the world. Cubans are guaranteed by the authorities and receive 80% of the contract payment.

Perez said he could send a statement of intent “in connection with the federal willingness to resume agreement and communication and relations with MLB” in the coming weeks.

The day before, Perez rejected the legitimacy of the Cuban Professional Baseball Players Association, created in the United States by immigrants such as Orlando’s “El Duque” Hernandez, who won the World Series four times.

Meanwhile, Perez hopes from his administration to promote baseball, which is also under pressure from the growing popularity of football, through a national strategy that includes everything from improving the condition of the stadium to hiring children. Confident.

“The main pillar is to strengthen the foundation. We know that we have many restrictions, Cuba is not the country of the first world,” Perez said.

Two ideas he is particularly working on are to bring an international event to visualize the island’s talents and an academy by businessmen from other countries and leagues interested in investing in this sport on the island. Is the founding of. Perez was in talks and preferred not to give details.

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Andrea Rodriguez is on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ARodriguezAP

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