By GALILEO RODAS
HAVANA TIMES, February 21- Voila! I think it’s done! The Cuban baseball team to take part in the 2nd World Baseball Classic pretty much satisfies the wishes of millions of baseball fans in Cuba, and keeps up the faith to once again reach the finals.
When the 28-man squad was announced on Wednesday, Cuba’s demanding baseball fans could find answers to most of their questions, regarding batting, pitching and defense.
Those who were asking for players with slugging power can count on Yosvani Peraza, Joan Carlos Pedroso, Rolando Meriño, Yoennis Cespedes, Alfredo Despaigne, Alexander Mayeta and Frederich Cepeda.
Others, concerned about speed, should have nothing to fear with a selection including Leonis Martin, Hector Olivera, Yuliesky Gourriel, Yoenis Cespedes, Eduardo Paret and Leslie Anderson.
Those who like baseball teams based on defense cannot complain either, with Ariel Pestano as the probable starting catcher, and an excellent infield, defended by Joan Carlos Pedroso, Hector Olivera, Eduardo Paret, and Yuliski Gourriel, and defensive outfielders such as Leonis Martin and Yoenis Cespedes.
For fans that prefer veterans the national team has Meriño, Pedro Luis Lazo, Norge Luis Vera, Pestano and Paret.
At first glance, many Cuban fans believe the team selected has what it takes to play at the Foro Sol Stadium (Mexico), Petco Park (San Diego, Calif.) and even on to Dodger Stadium for the semifinals.
The pitching staff has fast pitchers like left-hander Aroldis Chapman, and closers pitchers Vladimir García and Miguel Lahera, both right-handers. They are accompanied by others who base their pitching on slower but effective pitches, such as Norge Luis Vera, Luis Miguel Rodriguez, Norberto Gonzalez and Yulieski Gonzalez.
Fans of the powerful “slider” pitches will have the pleasure to see pitchers like Pedro Luis Lazo and Ciro Silvino Licea, two men with demolishing weapons in action.
The coaching staff of the Cuban baseball team is headed by manager Higinio Velez, surrounded by legendary, experienced and capable assistants.
Cuba will go to Mexico for a place in the second round of the competition. It must get beyond two of its three group competitors, South Africa, Australia and the host Mexico. The first game is on March 8 against South Africa.
As far as I can see the Cuban baseball team has a lot of diversity and should be up to the test. What do you think? Havana Times welcomes your comments.