This week saw an agreement being finalized between the World Baseball and Softball Confederation and the Cuban Baseball Federation. The deal is set to activate more opportunities for Cuban players to get exposure internationally. This agreement also opened the doors for Cuba to much better development of the sport in their country and increased the number of opportunities for Cuban athletes tremendously.
The Details of the Agreement
The latest agreement between the two baseball federations stipulates that Higinio Vèlez, heading the baseball federation on the island, will compile a list of the names of athletes that might be hired by foreign baseball clubs, to play for them. It further determines that Riccardo Fraccari, WBSC President, will fill the position as a liaison between Cuba and the various teams and organizations which might be interested in hiring the Cuban players. Even more excellent news for the world of baseball within Cuba is that the agreement also included various improvements to facilities and the availability and access to the much-needed equipment. Entrance to great trainers, training facilities, programs and even exchange programs are all included in the deal to improve the sport within Cuba.
Cuba Open to Professional Sports
It has already been many years since Cuba opened its doors to invite the development of professional sports within the country and inviting foreign clubs to hire their players. Yet the process didn’t occur evenly, and individual games have been left behind, baseball being one of them. This situation will now be rectified with the support of the WBSC. When the policy developed by Cuban leaders to be open towards professionalism in sports became active, many Cuban athletes had for the first time the opportunity to be able to compete professionally for various clubs in different sport disciplines, including volleyball, soccer and cycling. Currently, the island’s most significant recognized figures in the international arena are Alfredo Despaigne who managed great results in both the Japanese as well as German baseball leagues and Mijain Lopez for wrestling.
Access to the USA, First Given and Then Denied
During December last year, Cuba and the United States MLB came to an agreement that allowed the hiring of Cuban players in the country. During April, President Trump rejected that agreement, and that once again closed the door to the States for Cuban players. Currently, Cuban players are present in teams in Italy, Japan, Panama and Canada, without these countries breaking their ties with the Cuban Federation. With the completion of the agreement between the WBSC and Cuba, the hope is alive once again that even more countries would venture into such agreements to enable as many opportunities possible for these Cuban players globally.
Hence baseball fans from all over the world, will without a doubt soon see these Cuban stars finally playing on the international fields and showing the world what they are capable of.