HAVANA TIMES, March 20 — President Raul Castro welcomed home the Cuban baseball team at the foot of the plane on Thursday night at the Jose Marti International Airport in the capital.

If they had made it to the World Baseball Classic finals there would have been a ticker tape reception instead it was a solemn one.

While fans throughout the country continue debating the reasons why the Cubans were unable to make it to the semifinals, Vice President Esteban Lazo received them “with the pride and emotion of a father, of a brother, of a friend, of the people that embrace their sons returning from a tough battle.”

Cuba finished with a 4-2 record in the 2nd World Baseball Classic but was unable to advance to the semifinals in Los Angeles because of two losses to Japan 6-0 and 5-0 in second round games in San Diego.

On Saturday, Venezuela meets Korea —which lost 6-2 to Japan on Thursday night— in the first semifinal match up. The other contest pits Team USA against Japan on Sunday. The winning two teams will meet in the final on Monday.

All World Baseball Classic games are being broadcast on Cuban radio and television, which is without any commercial advertising.


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