Cuban Baseball Playoffs Diary

Final Word on Cuba’s Playoffs

The cheering has finally stopped and for only the third time in three full decades Cuba has a “first-time” national baseball champion: The Habana Province Cowboys. Read more

Homers: Not How Many? But When?

Who might be Cuba’s best clean-up slugger? Or in a similar vein, who might be the most productive designated hitter on the island? Read more


Playoffs 2, Rain 1

The final Western Division game on Monday between Havana Province and Pinar del Rio featured just about everything one could ask in the way of titillating drama and home crowd enthusiasms. After nearly five and a half hours-with the clock ultimately reading 1:30 am-the Cowboys would at last punch their ticket for a championship showdown versus Villa Clara. Read more


Danger’s Homer That Wasn’t

We now have yet another reason for paying strict attention to Cuban League action, especially to the sometimes-chaotic and often precedent-setting Cuban post-season championship matches. On Friday evening in Pinar del Rio’s jam-packed Captain San Luis Stadium fans again witnessed “one for the record books”—and this time for the rule books to boot. Read more

Quarterfinals Bring Few Surprises

There is plenty of reason to believe that neither western challenger can be taken lightly—both Habana and Pinar own a sufficient blend of slugging and talented mound work to battle either Ciego’s Tigers or the rebounding Orangemen both tooth and nail. Read more

Cuba’s Baseball MVPs Revisited

My own vote would probably go to either Yunieski Maya (Pinar del Río), Maikel Folich (Ciego de Avila) or Yadier Pedroso (Habana). These three outstanding pitchers have done the lion’s share of the work in putting their teams into the playoffs, and one of them may yet carry his teammates to a league championship during the playoff round. Read more

Playoff Surprises Define the East

Santiago de Cuba boasts almost the exact same team fielded in 2007-08 for a previous championship run. José Julio Ruiz (last winter’s stolen base champ) has fled Cuba, but that is not itself a devastating loss given the strength of manager Pacheco’s top-to-bottom lineup. Read more


Playoffs Are Cuba’s Biggest Show

The Cuban League baseball rarely reflects the big-business professional North American sport to any notable extent. Cuban baseball boasts no high-salaried free agents, shopping mall style stadiums, ubiquitous commercial sponsors, or athletes whose record-book achievements are often fine-tuned with performance-enhancing chemicals. Read more


Peter Bjarkman

Peter Bjarkman: My initial visit to Cuba occurred in February 1997, when I began research for the first of several books treating the island’s remarkable baseball history. I rapidly fell in love with Cuba’s national sport, as well as with its remarkable people, culture, and music, all of which have subsequently become a central part of my life. I have made over 40 visits to Havana where “home away from home” is the Hotel Telegrafo on the Parque Central. My actual home base is Lafayette, Indiana, where my wife is a professor at Purdue University. My reporting on Cuban baseball has allowed me to follow the Cuban national team to most major international tournaments in the past decade.