Cuba Announces Baseball Team for Toronto PanAm Games

Once again Freddie Asiel Alvarez is on the pitching staff of Team Cuba.
Once again Freddie Asiel Alvarez is on the pitching staff of Team Cuba.

HAVANA TIMES — With the Toronto Pan American Games right around the corner (July 10-26), Cuban baseball authorities announced on Friday the 24-member squad that will try to recover the crown they held from 1971–2011.

It was at the 2011 Guadalajara, Mexico games that Cuba finished a disappointing third to Canada and the USA.

The island has lost dozens of prospects and top players over the last decade as they abandoned the country to seek contracts mainly with US Major League clubs or their affiliates.

Nonetheless, the Cubans can still field a respectable baseball team for international events and have a solid chance to battle the top positions.

Most of the announced team will play exhibition games in North Carolina with a US university selection from July 1-8 as a tune up for Toronto.

The Cubans will also play practice games against Nicaragua on June 21-25 in Havana.

Frederich Cepeda, the Mr. Clutch of team Cuba.
Frederich Cepeda, the Mr. Clutch of team Cuba.

At Toronto, Cuba will debut on July 11 against Colombia, followed by games against the USA, Puerto Rico and the defending champion Canadians. They finish out the qualifying round against the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. The top four teams will advance to the semifinals.

Catchers (3): Yulexis La Rosa, Yosvani Alarcón and Frank Camilo Morejón.

Infielders (6): Alexander Malleta, Raúl González, Luis Yander La O, Yordan Manduley, Yorbis Borroto and Rudy Reyes.

Outfielders (5): Alfredo Despaigne, Yadiel Hernández, Frederich Cepeda, Roel Santos and José Adolis García.

Pitchers (10): Ismel Jiménez, Yosvany Torres, Erlis Casanova, Yander Guevara, Freddy Asiel Álvarez, Yoanni Yera, Liván Moinelo, Héctor Manuel Mendoza, Lázaro Blanco y Yunier Cano.

Manager: Roger Machado

 

Men’s Baseball at the Pan American Games (from Wikipedia)

Year Host Medalists
Gold Silver Bronze
1951
Details
Argentina
Buenos Aires

Cuba

United States

Mexico
1955
Details
Mexico
Mexico City

Dominican Republic

United States

Venezuela
1959
Details
United States
Chicago

Venezuela

Puerto Rico

United States
1963
Details
Brazil
São Paulo

Cuba

United States

Mexico
1967
Details
Canada
Winnipeg

United States

Cuba

Puerto Rico
1971
Details
Colombia
Cali

Cuba

United States

Colombia
1975
Details
Mexico
Mexico City

Cuba

United States

Venezuela
1979
Details
Puerto Rico
San Juan

Cuba

Dominican Republic

Puerto Rico
1983
Details
Venezuela
Caracas

Cuba

Nicaragua

United States
1987
Details
United States
Indianapolis

Cuba

United States

Puerto Rico
1991
Details
Cuba
Havana

Cuba

Puerto Rico

United States
1995
Details
Argentina
Mar del Plata

Cuba

Nicaragua

Puerto Rico
1999
Details
Canada
Winnipeg

Cuba

United States

Canada
2003
Details
Dominican Republic
Santo Domingo

Cuba

United States

Mexico
2007
Details
Brazil
Rio de Janeiro

Cuba

United States

Mexico

Nicaragua
2011
Details
Mexico
Guadalajara

Canada

United States

Cuba
2015
Details
Canada
Toronto

15 thoughts on “Cuba Announces Baseball Team for Toronto PanAm Games

  • July 14, 2015 at 8:41 pm
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    I know a guy like that too. They are the exception however.

  • July 14, 2015 at 6:36 pm
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    By marriage?…..duh that makes you an expert on your wonderful wife….NOT
    Cuba…..and certainly NOT baseball….if you want some expertise….I was in Cuba 1958….first time….been there many many times since….played baseball down there…..sponsored kids team….very good friend with Ismael Jiminez
    For 12 years….asked him…with respect….if he would ever consider “jumping ship” to go and pla MLB…..he would have received in the Millions of $$..
    He said ” NO NEVER”……”family is more important than$$$”…. Ismael is currently in Toronto for Pan Am games…..

  • June 16, 2015 at 2:33 pm
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    I’m not in the USA but I lived there, in the “Belly of the Monster” for 8 years in the 60’s. While there I worked as a civil rights activist, a student and union organizer and Viet Nam War resistor. I allowed the USA to draft me and spent one year being the biggest pain in the ass of the US Army I could be (“Be All You Can Be”) as a “Security Risk”. I escaped before they arrested me on trumped-up and not so trumped-up charges and though I continued to live in “Yuma” for 8 months, they never caught me. The best step I ever took was across the Canadian Border. I was offered USA citizenship two years before, when the rest of my family applied and were given it, I’m proud to say I turned it down. So I know the USA from inside out, from Miami up the Eastern Seaboard (N. Carolina, Virginia, DC, Baltimore MD. Philly, Union City, NY) all the way to Boston, then Georgia and Alabama, Texas, Western Pennsylvania, Iowa, Minnesota, California and Oregon. I lived and worked in these places not vacationed there and that intimate knowledge of the USA Government and Society is what makes me defend my Country and the Cuban Government against all the propaganda of “The Evil Empire” that you disseminate. Want to know anything else about me? I fought and was wounded in Chile resisting Pinochet’s Coup against the democratically elected Presidente Salvador Allende, which was orchestrated, planned and aided by the USA, and the Canadians gave asylum, medical treatment and brought me back here under diplomatic protection.
    About you now, what exactly is your motivation for poo-pooing Cuba and how many of you are there…

  • June 15, 2015 at 9:52 pm
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    By marriage.

  • June 15, 2015 at 9:51 pm
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    Do the power outages in Gaza make the power outages in Cuba okay?

  • June 15, 2015 at 5:48 pm
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    …and yet here you are, in the good ol USA and not in Cuba. Whether because of your parents or your own choice. Why is that?

  • June 15, 2015 at 5:32 pm
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    Oh yes, I am a Real Cuban and I forgot to ask you how would you know how we feel?

  • June 15, 2015 at 5:30 pm
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    Jeez Moses, my Cuban travel anecdotes were not to respond to a challenge from you, but rather to challenge your continuous assertion that Cuba is a living hell. The line “you may have interpreted…” is nothing but conjecture about me and what I think or perceive on your part; I don’t lack any facts but rather is you who is trying to change the focus of the discussion by questioning my credibility and my perspective. Your chicken point is ridiculous, every poor person around the world feel the same contented way about getting a chicken, legal or not, and who’s the “We” that curse what system, is it Global Venture Capitalist Economics? Because there is lot more poor people forced to eat garbage from the dump in this world thanks to the economic order which countries like yours have imposed on the rest of the world for centuries than poor people in Cuba eating rice and beans everyday and a illegal chicken every so often, and Cubans eat everyday. Your point about power outages in Cuba seems so null when you consider that at least they have power most of the time; how many millions of people in this world have no power at all thanks to the World Economic Order, how about two hours a day in Gaza? By the by, Yuma is a metaphor for the USA, not Canada; we are La Nevera (the freezer).

  • June 15, 2015 at 1:36 pm
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    I have never challenged you for your anecdotal experiences in or with Cubans, have I? Rather, you seem to lack the facts as it relates to US/Cuban policy and practices. You may have interpreted the reactions that the Cubans who have interacted with you positively. When a Cuban buys a few pounds of stolen frozen chicken, and you see them smiling, you likely perceive that smile as a contented Cuban. Would you consider that no human being wants to have to buy “illegal” chicken. We curse the system that demands that we do that. But if it is a fact of life that Cubans sometimes must ‘resolve’ just to buy frickin’ chicken, what else can they do but smile about it. What else can they do but go outside and sit on the steps when there’s a power outage? Does it change anything to curse out loud? From your Yuma perspective, all is well. But real Cubans feel differently.

  • June 15, 2015 at 11:45 am
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    That’s right Moses, everybody’s facts are wrong on your say so…I have gone to Cuba 12 times since 1994 (Pastors for Peace) for as long as 3 months each time. I went all over the island, brought my daughters separately to see my culture beyond me and traveled incognito, just as any other Cuban. Through out my many visits I have held long discussions and drinking sessions with peasants, Santeros, bus-drivers, artists, musicians, relatives, apparatchiks and street operators to hear the pros and cons of life under the Revolutionary Government; and I must have missed the right-hand turn to “Hell” ’cause it just was not anywhere I was and no one there could tell me where it was either. Cubans that defect do it because they buy into all the propaganda your country puts out about the “American Dream” like millions of Central and South Americans that run the USA border with Mexico at the Rio Bravo del Norte (Rio Grande to you, Moses). Cuban professionals, athletes or otherwise), defect to commercialize and exploit the free training and education they received from the Cuban Government; no more, no less.

  • June 15, 2015 at 12:10 am
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    Your facts are wrong. Non-Cuban born MLB ballplayers far out earn Cubans signed to MLB contracts. The highest paid Cubans in MLB deserve every nickel. Cubans do benefit from the WF/DF policy but so what? If living in Cuba wasn’t such a living hell, no immigration policy would make such a difference. You don’t see Canadians risking their lives to live in the US. And net immigration from Mexico is close to zero. By the way, you should talk to a Cuban doctor or ballet dancer who has escaped Castro tyranny. I have. They don’t leave just for the money. They usually don’t have big contracts waiting for them. They leave for the opportunity and the freedom. If it was only the money, many would not leave Cuba. You have probably enjoyed freedom all of your life. You probably undervalue it’s draw on the human spirit. Castro has taken that freedom from Cubans. He is far more to blame for these defections than MLB contracts.

  • June 14, 2015 at 7:11 pm
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    I would guess, Moses, one or two of the Cuban baseball players will defect. Because they are Cuban, and Cuban exiles in the U. S. mostly dictate America’s Cuban policy (“Wet Foot/Dry Foot,” for example) they have two primary reasons to defect. One is upfront contracts guaranteeing them $70 million or so dollars, whether or not they actually pan out as Major League players. A similarly talented player who is an American would get about $3 million upfront and guaranteed, something several top Major Leaguers have pointed out as being discriminatory against Americans or any non-Cubans. The second primary reason for Cuban baseball players, ballet performers, and doctors to defect is the vast pipeline of human traffickers who benefit from the process. Often secondary to the money, of course, is the fact that well-greased pipelines encouraging defections from Cuba are designed to hurt Cuba, such as the vast recruitment of Cuban doctors serving in foreign countries. Of course, Moses, I am sure you will assign only the most benevolent motives to those who profit or revel in Cuban defections. Also, I’m sure you will deny that Cuban defectors have basic “legal” rights that emigrants from no other country remotely have. For example, does “Wet Foot/Dry Foot” apply to a Chinese person trying to immigrate to the U. S.? Are the Major League players just being sissies for complaining about the $70 million upfront deals Cubans get that a comparable American would only get, say, $3 million? (All 30 Major League teams can bid for Cubans; only the team that drafts the American can sign him). In other words, Moses, the Cuban Revolution unwittingly did a huge favor for its opponents. They fled to the U. S., where there is a lot more money than Cuba ever had, and, lo ‘n behold, one U. S. law after the other permits them to make more money than the astute Meyer Lansky ever dreamed of making on the island.

  • June 14, 2015 at 4:49 pm
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    There are always scouts “checking out the scene ” as you say. Moreover, would – be agents are always sending player stats and videos to scouts. Not just for Cuban players but Latin America in general. The difference is Cubans have to defect to play MLB.

  • June 14, 2015 at 11:32 am
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    The allure of big money is probably what many players hope to snag. There are probably a number of scouts checking out the scene in Cuba.

  • June 13, 2015 at 1:17 pm
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    How many Cubans will defect on this trip?

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