Pitcher Abandons Team Cuba in Paris

by Ray Otero*

Pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne (left) took part in the March 2013 World Baseball Classic III. Photo: baseballdecuba.com

HAVANA TIMES — History repeats itself again. A Cuban team taking part in a tournament being held in the Netherlands must do so without one of its pitchers. It happened in 2009 and 2011 with lefties Aroldis Chapman and Gerardo Concepcion, both now involved in US Major League Baseball. The latest desertion is Odrisamer Despaigne.

Despaigne, 26, a starter with Havana’s Industriales in the Cuban league and a member of Team Cuba’s squad at international tournaments, left the Cuban team at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, on the stopover in route to Rotterdam, Holland for a tournament that began on Sunday.

Despaigne, who is the son of former Cuban pitcher, Juan Rafael Despaigne, presumably seeks reunion with his father who now lives in Spain, while his real intentions are suspected to be attempting to play professional baseball in the USA.

Odrisamer participated in 8 Cuban baseball seasons with Industriales. In the recently concluded season he had a 10-5 record and a 3.27 ERA while striking out 98 in 143 innings pitched. Despite his good year his team did not make it to the playoffs.
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(*) Follow the stories of Ray Otero and Peter C. Bjarkman at Baseballdecuba.com.


4 thoughts on “Pitcher Abandons Team Cuba in Paris

  • July 2, 2013 at 9:00 pm
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    Americans can, and do travel to Cuba within certain conditions. Americans are free to travel to any other country in the world. For 5 decades, the Cuban regime banned the Cuban people from travelling freely to ANY country in the world. That you attempt to draw an equivalence between these two very different situations reveals your lack of critical thinking skills.

    The NSA does not listen to telephone calls or read your email. They do record who calls whom, but not the content.

    On the other hand, the Cuban police routinely listen to phone calls, read emails and bug the homes of Cubans and foreigners, all without court orders or warrants. Again, that you attempt to equate US practices with Cuban practices speaks to your lack of critical thinking skills. Or your ignorance. Or your preference to dissemble and distract rather than confront reality.

  • July 2, 2013 at 5:15 pm
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    So you are defending the Castros slavery-minded policies regarding Cuban athletes by implying that the USA has problems too? That’s called ‘deflection’.

  • July 2, 2013 at 8:40 am
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    Are you talking about the freedom the people in the USA have to travel freely to Cuba or the freedom to use their telephone or internet without the US gov. listening in.

  • July 1, 2013 at 7:40 am
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    I look forward to the day when Cubans share the same freedoms the rest of us blithely enjoy. Then the headline will read ” Pitcher Quits…” or “Pitcher Leaves…”. Better yet, the news won’t warrant a headline at all because like other athletes everywhere else in the world, it simply won’t be news when a Cuban pitcher changes teams.

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