Friday, July 08, 2005

Cuba Blames U.S. for No Olympic Baseball

Chicago Tribune
By ANNE-MARIE GARCIA
Associated Press Writer

July 8, 2005, 11:42 AM CDT

HAVANA -- Cuba blamed the major leagues Friday for the sport being dropped from the 2012 Olympics.

Cuba has won three of the four gold medals since baseball was first played at the Olympics -- in 1992, 1996 and 2004. The United States won the gold in 2000, with Cuba getting the silver.

"Those who bear most of the blame are the owners of the professional leagues who refuse to free up their ballplayers to compete," Cuban Baseball Federation president Carlos Rodriguez told The Associated Press.

"It's a shame because this decision will disappoint millions of young people who practice and love this sport," Rodriguez added.

Softball also was dropped from the program for the London Games during a meeting of the International Olympic Committee in Singapore. This was the first time the IOC eliminated any sports from the Summer Games in 69 years.

Rodriguez said Cuba would continue to make baseball a key part of its sports program because "it is the national sport, it is part of our culture."

Alexander Mayeta, the first baseman for Havana's Industriales team, called the decision to drop baseball "hard and unjust." He added that for a Cuban player, "the greatest pride is to be an Olympic champion."

"My dream has been to play in the Olympic finals," added Mayeta, who had 14 homers and hit .330 last season. "I'm going to train even harder, do everything possible to make sure Cuba gets to the 2008 Games. That gold medal is more important than ever. We cannot lose it."

2 Comments:

Blogger Henry "Conductor" Gomez said...

Oh brother what a joke. You could insert any word there: Cuba Blames U.S. for ________

What the hell are the major leagues supposed to do? They already play April through October. Games at the beginning and end of the season are already threatened by cold weather and snow in many cities. A two week break in the middle of it won't help matters. Besides if the Dominican Republic and the US went to the olympics with MLB players, then the Headline would be: Cuba Blames US Major league owners for violating sanctity of amateur sports by bringing professionals to the Olympics.

By the way MLB is trying to organize a World Cup of Baseball in lieu of the Olympics and Cuba is hinting that it won't participate. Why? Because the team might defect en masse.

4:12 PM  
Blogger leftside said...

Cuba has never been scared to bring its athletes anywhere in the world. It was the US that stopped any notion of continuing the exhibitions between the clubs (remember Orioles v. Cuba)?

Cuba has not yet decided on the proposed MLB World Cup. There are many important details still to be worked out. The negative quote from Cuba was :

"They never have cared about the Olympic program or the development of the discipline in other countries." They are only interested in increasing their profits with their show. If the competitive system of international baseball has to be improved, let's have those of us who represent the discipline do it among ourselves."

I think the fact the MLB is viewing this as more of a commerical venture and recruiting tool, rather than a true attempt to further the internationalization of basebal, is what is driving this. But I am not so naive to think that the possible soiling of Cuba's amazing unbeaten record (in world tournaments) is not also in play. The baseball system in Dominica is truly disgusting. Anyone who loves baseball would be open-jawed if they compared it to the way the game is treated in Cuba.. the lack of care for education, for family, for developing a local game, etc.

7:36 PM  

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