Photo Feature by Ernesto Gonzalez

HAVANA TIMES — While officially baseball is still the national sport in Cuba, for a while now young Cubans passion for soccer is growing fast.

A common sight today in parks and squares of Havana, Pinar del Rio, Matanzas and other cities are children playing soccer.

Virtually everyone in the younger generations knows Messi, Cristiano, Iker, Xavi, Iniesta, Carles Pujol, and many others in the capital Real Madrid and Barca have many followers as the Industrial.

I think it’s possible to love both baseball and soccer, Industriales and Real Madrid, because love is not exclusive.

Nonetheless, I also believe that television has had much to do with a love for soccer that Cubans feel today. If you put the best soccer in the world on Cuban TV, why not also show the best of universal baseball?

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5 thoughts on “Cuba: Baseball or Soccer?

  • ‘Moses’, even for you, you’re getting extremely silly and obsessive about interjecting your propaganda into everything that comes along.

    This photo feature has nothing to do with movies or TV broadcasts.

    If Cuban baseball leagues played against American leagues, it would make sense to broadcast American games but they don’t. A handful of Cuban players on American teams hardly makes a difference, especially since not only the government but many Cubans see them as gusanos.

    Canadian and American hockey teams play against each other and the games are broadcast in each country. Canadian and Russian teams don’t compete and we don’t see Russian games here.

    Get a life, ‘Moses’. Even propagandists need to know when its time to back off.

  • with respect Mr. Moses…..this is a simplification of the REAL issue concerning Cuba and Major League BB

  • Addendum: There is another exciting part of soccerball. A runner may “sea-gull” the ball–a term taken from the way a sea gull might swoop down on a bit of food at the beach.

    If a fielder plays the ball sloppily, a runner may sea-gull it and advance on a goal, and shoot. A short-stop may not interfere, and only the goal-tender may prevent the double score. But if the sea-gulling runner is unsuccessful and makes it back to base before the ball is returned to the base-player, the runner is safe.

  • A fast-paced, high-scoring new game has been invented in Santa Monica, California that combines baseball and soccer. (It might be thought of as a sophisticated version of children’s “kick-ball.”) If it should catch on in Cuba, baseball diamonds could be used in the “off season” for this “soccerball”–or “soquerbal” in Spanish.

    This would accelerate the popularity of field soccer. Most of the skills and many of the rules of field soccer are used in soccerball, although the positions and tactics of field soccer do not apply. Soccer players in general could be developed and kept in shape however by popularization of the new game. Also, spectators would be able to watch games close to the player around baseball diamonds.

    Basically, a soccer goal is placed at short distance in both left and right field. The left-fielder and the right-fielder are goal-tenders, while the center-fielder is positioned between the goals. There are two “short-stops.”

    The pitcher pitches the ball according to “throw-in” rules; the ball bounces once and passes over home plate. There are no “strike-outs,” and the pitcher must pitch until the runner runs.

    The “kicker” may kick the ball and run, as in baseball. Or, he or she may elect to receive the ball and dribble toward one of the goals where, if successful, two runs are scored. Such a dribble may only be challenged by a short-stop and a goal tender. If the ball is lost, the runner is “out.”

    When a kicker elects to dribble, the spectators may go wild.

    The pace of the game is heightened by the fact that the team in the field must rotate backward after each kicker has a turn; that is, the “catcher” immediately becomes the pitcher, the pitcher become “first-base,” and so on. The right-fielder/goal tender becomes superfluous after each kick, and must sprint promptly to the “dug-out,” soon to become the catcher. Due to this backward rotation, each player gets to practice the special skills of each field position.

    A runner is out when the ball is kicked to the base ahead of him or her, and is caught by the base player before the runner reaches the base. The base player however may then transmit the ball only by kicking.

    It’s a great, fun game, but it has only recently been conceptualized, and the rules are still being refined.

  • Here’s something to ponder: As Cuba continues to blackout Major League Baseball from the US therefore avoiding the uncomfortable reality that most of the best Cuban ballplayers escape to the US every year with the goal of playing in the ‘Big Leagues’, what would happen if an exceptional Cuban soccer player was recruited by Real Madrid or Barcelona or any of the other European clubs for that matter? Would they black out the games in which the Cuban played? Would they simply just not say his name even if he scored a goal? Don’t smirk…there is a new Cuban movie in the theaters in Cuba now and two of the three main actors recently requested political asylum in the US while attending a New York film festival. Cuba’s answer to these ‘gusanos’ was to take their names from the film credits! Maybe Cuba would simply use one of those black boxes used to hide identities or the fuzzy lens and just blur out the Cuban player. I guess that way Cubans would not find out that most athletes who leave Cuba do so simply to improve their lives and that of their families. Some even end up earning millions of dollars a year. Shhhh!

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