Cuban baseball expert Peter C. Bjarkman is set to cover the island’s team at the International Baseball Federation World Championships on Sept. 9-27 to be played at several European stadiums. Stay tuned for complete coverage of the games including Bjarkman’s HT World Cup Diary, which will be featured on our front page throughout the event.
The final Western Division game on Monday between Havana Province and Pinar del Rio featured just about everything one could ask in the way of titillating drama and home crowd enthusiasms. Read more
There is plenty of reason to believe that neither western challenger can be taken lightly—both Habana and Pinar own a sufficient blend of slugging and talented mound work to battle either Ciego’s Tigers or the rebounding Orangemen both tooth and nail. Read more
My own vote would probably go to either Yunieski Maya (Pinar del Río), Maikel Folich (Ciego de Avila) or Yadier Pedroso (Habana). These three outstanding pitchers have done the lion’s share of the work in putting their teams into the playoffs, and one of them may yet carry his teammates to a league championship during the playoff round. Read more
The Cuban Baseball Playoffs begin on Wednesday with Western Division quarterfinal games between Pinar del Rio and Sancti Spiritus and Habana vs. Isla de la Juventud. Eastern Division play begins Thursday with Santiago de Cuba playing Villa Clara and Ciego de Avila faces Holguin. Stay tuned to read Cuban baseball expert Peter C. Bjarkman’s playoffs diary.
Santiago de Cuba boasts almost the exact same team fielded in 2007-08 for a previous championship run. José Julio Ruiz (last winter’s stolen base champ) has fled Cuba, but that is not itself a devastating loss given the strength of manager Pacheco’s top-to-bottom lineup. Read more
The Cuban League baseball rarely reflects the big-business professional North American sport to any notable extent. Cuban baseball boasts no high-salaried free agents, shopping mall style stadiums, ubiquitous commercial sponsors, or athletes whose record-book achievements are often fine-tuned with performance-enhancing chemicals. Read more