World Baseball on Cuban Television

Osmel Almaguer

Cienfuegos’s Jose Dariel Abreu is playing this year for the Chicago White Sox.

HAVANA TIMES — Cuba’s Beisbol Internacional (“World Baseball”) sports show has been on the air for some months now and we have not yet seen one of the many Cuban baseball players now in the major leagues on TV. Mere coincidence?

It would be monumentally naïve to even consider the possibility that high officials at Cuba’s Radio and Television Institute (ICRT) haven’t done anything deliberate in this connection.

If memory serves me right, there are nearly twenty Cuban players now employed by major league teams, making Cuban the third country with the most players in the world’s most prestigious teams. If memory continues to serve me right, these players are employed by 10 of the 30 main baseball franchises.

This sports show, the only one of its kind on all of Cuba’s television channels, not only televises major league games; it is also the only program that broadcasts league games from elsewhere in the continent and Asia on a weekly basis (every Sunday at 8 pm).

Though I haven’t actually counted them, I would say anywhere from 15 to 20 full major league games have been televised by Beisbol Internacional since the show came on the air.

Since Cuban players are in 10 major baseball teams at the moment (33% of the total number of teams), the chances of seeing a Cuban player on Beisbol Internacional (considering the smaller figure of televised games) are 5 over 15. However, we haven’t seen a single game where a Cuban has played.

Though this does not prove that the ICRT has any involvement in this, it does raise questions. Let us assume it’s the case. The question then becomes: why?

Why? I am now addressing the government officials who have come upon this post doing a keyword search. Why? Answer only this question.

Don’t you allow me to get lost in speculation and think there isn’t a real will to liberalize the sport, politically and mentally. I am led to think that Beisbol Internacional is a mere concession, a temporary pact between two parties who have not yet settled their conflicts.

I continue to want Cuban television to broadcast as much baseball and soccer as possible. I want to see sports from all countries – that’s what we have a sports channel for. We’re also talking about our national sport. I continue to dream of watching live games, at least the post-season ones. I continue to long to see our stars shine out there in the field, where the sky is less bright for them, far from home as they are.

As you can see, all of these questions and doubts have put me a bit on edge. Doesn’t the same happen to you?


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.

5 thoughts on “World Baseball on Cuban Television

  • Update: Jose Abreu has set a record for most RBI’s by a rookie in April

    Jose Abreu hit the next pitch into the left-center field stands for his 10th home run, setting the Major League rookie record for most RBIs in April in the process.

    Abreu’s record climbed to 31 when he singled home two more during a four-run seventh, following that five-run sixth.

    “When he hits it on the barrel, it can get out of any park,” said Ventura of Abreu. “I don’t think it was necessarily carrying to left field, but he has enough power to get it out of here.”

    “My adjustments are simple: I try to stay inside the ball,” said Abreu through interpreter and White Sox manager of cultural development Lino Diaz. “If I do that consistently I can get good contacts and I stay solid.”

  • That would be great. Then we can have a real “World Series” to decide who the real champion baseball team is!

  • Try thinking about this discussion on a higher level. What we need to imagine is a Central American Baseball League that is one of the major leagues, an integrated part of it. Think of the economic and political advantages for everyone.

  • Hey, this is interesting: Cubans Dayan Viciedo & Alexei Ramirez of the Chicago White Sox are leading the American League batting average race with .354 and .352 respectively. Not bad at all.

  • Jose Abreu is off to a good start with the Chicago White Sox, although he’s slipped into a bit of a slump lately. He’s batting .259, with 7 home runs, 21 RBI’s and 16 runs.

    I watched him play a game during the Spring Training season in Arizona. He was kind enough to autograph a baseball for my son and a small Cuban flag I had with me. He seemed like a nice guy as well as being an outstanding athlete.

    I don’t know if you can watch YouTube online in Cuba, but if you can there are many nice video clips of Abreu, Puig, Chapman and other fine Cuban ball players in the MLB. Cuban baseball fans can rightly be proud of the high calibre of players from the island.

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