Randy-Arozarena.jpg

United States to allow MLB players to play for Cuba in World Baseball Classic

The United States is permitting MLB players that are from Cuba to play for their home country in the World Baseball Classic in March. 

A press release from the Baseball Federation of Cuba on Saturday viewed this as a “positive step” that could put the country back on the baseball map. MLB confirmed the move on Monday, via the Associated Press.

Much like the Dominican Republic, Cuba’s love for baseball trumps that of soccer, which many other Latin American countries find to be more popular. However, in recent years, the usually dominant Cuban baseball team has fallen off due to geopolitical issues between both countries.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE SPORTS COVERAGE ON FOXNEWS.COM

Yordan Alvarez #44 of the Houston Astros celebrates after hitting a three-run home run against the Philadelphia Phillies during the sixth inning in Game Six of the 2022 World Series at Minute Maid Park on Nov. 5, 2022 in Houston, Texas.

Yordan Alvarez #44 of the Houston Astros celebrates after hitting a three-run home run against the Philadelphia Phillies during the sixth inning in Game Six of the 2022 World Series at Minute Maid Park on Nov. 5, 2022 in Houston, Texas.
(Harry How/Getty Images)

Major League players from Cuba have had to defect to play professionally and earn money, as the communist Cuban government prohibited professional sports after the revolution 60 years ago.

So players like Randy Arozarena, José Abreu and Yordan Alvarez have had to make a name for themselves in the United States after defecting. And Cuba has historically not allowed those that defected to play for their national team. 

TWO-TIME MVP BRYCE HARPER COMMITS TO PLAY FOR TEAM USA IN WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC

Because of that, their best players couldn’t aid them in reaching the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, for example. Cuba has been a powerhouse for years in the Olympics, winning medals in baseball. 

But Cuba seems to be turning their mindset around. In November, several players who defected were invited to play for the World Baseball Classic team, if they so choose. 

Sep 14, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu (79) smiles during the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Guaranteed Rate Field. 

Sep 14, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu (79) smiles during the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Guaranteed Rate Field. 
(Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports)

Yet, Cuban officials accused President Joe Biden and his administration of blocking those players from accepting the invitations, hence this latest news that they will be allowed now to represent their country. 

WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC TO AIR EXCLUSIVELY ON FOX NETWORKS

While it is viewed as a move in the right direction, Baseball Federation of Cuba president Juan Reinaldo Pérez Pardo criticized the U.S. in a tweet on Saturday, saying “it is arbitrary and discriminatory that a permit from the government of this country (the U.S.) is needed to attend” the tournament.

Tampa Bay Rays' Randy Arozarena celebrates after scoring on an RBI double by Yandy Diaz off Boston Red Sox pitcher Stephen Gonsalves during the third inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Tampa Bay Rays’ Randy Arozarena celebrates after scoring on an RBI double by Yandy Diaz off Boston Red Sox pitcher Stephen Gonsalves during the third inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Florida.
(AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Pérez Pardo said that the FCB should have more details about their roster, which needs to be in by Feb. 7. The 30 Cuban players will prepare for their first WBC game against the Netherlands in Taiwan on March 8. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Source link

Tags: No tags

Leave A Comment