In Cuba, Even All-Star Picks Can Be Centralized

Osmel Almaguer 

Yeison Pacheco was in the 2012 Cuban All-Star Game. Photo/archive:

HAVANA TIMES, March 11 — It’s said that voting for the All-stars Game in major league baseball is the most democratic in the world. Each person on the planet (at least those who have Internet access) can exercise their right to choose the star who — according to them —most deserves it, or who they most want to see in such a special event, or who’s simply their preferred player.

This means that all players are eligible who have played most of the games for their team when selection time comes. I have no idea about the methods used in other leagues, though they’re probably similar or the same.

What is doubtful is that one of the methods is similar to the one implemented this year in Cuba, after several decades of All-stars being selected by the sports institutions.

A few years ago, discussion began on radio and television sports programs about the desirability of making the All-Stars Game picks more democratic, as was formerly done on the island.

The idea produced positive fruits, and this year the people were the ones who were finally going choose their players.

But, as could be expected, the “thinkers” of this country once again interposed themselves.

“So much freedom could give the mistaken impression of anarchy, and this is something we cannot tolerate,” these sages must have concluded.

Therefore the solution was to convene a meeting between the diverse specialized sports authorities and press to decide on three players for each position that would be eligible for the All-stars game.

To give the appearance of a little more openness, a line was added so that the voters could write in any omitted player. Of course the probability of selection of those not among the three authority-nominated candidates is vastly inferior. This is a fail-safe psychological mechanism.

Why do we find it so difficult to let things work themselves out by themselves? Why does each social expression on this traumatized island — no matter how trivial — have to pass through the sieve of the two or three individuals in power?

How is it possible to effectively govern a country where they want to micromanage every single blasted detail?

For those of us who believe that the stars transcend us, here we’ve found new evidence of the capacity to be amazed.


Osmel Almaguer:Until recently I would to identify myself as a poet, a cultural promoter and a university student. Now that my notions on poetry have changed slightly, that I got a new job, and that I have finished my studies, I’m forced to ask myself: Am I a different person? In our introductions, we usually mention our social status instead of looking within ourselves for those characteristics that define us as unique and special. The fact that I’m scared of spiders, that I’ve never learned to dance, that I get upset over the simplest things, that culminating moments excite me, that I’m a perfectionist, composed but impulsive, childish but antiquated: these are clues that lead to who I truly am.

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One thought on “In Cuba, Even All-Star Picks Can Be Centralized

  • The Major League All-Star Game ballot works the same way. A selected number of players for each position are listed on the ballot and fans have the option to add write-in votes for the players not on the ballot. There are more players listed for each position on the MLB ballot, but then MLB has twice as many teams and thus twice as many players. Pete Bjarkman

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