The headlines: El expresidente Fidel Castro de Cuba falleció el 25 de Noviembre a los 90 años de edad. Fidel Castro y su eterno amor por el beisbol. Yes, Fidel Castro will be known for his eternal love of baseball, and his Cohiba cigars, but forever tied to human rights abuses.
With the confirmation of the death of Fidel Castro, how will baseball change with regards to Cuban players? This will be a story to watch in the coming weeks, and months. Some of the greatest baseball talents have been denied the ability to play in the United States of America as they have been trapped in many cases inside Cuba.
Cuban players and players of Cuban descent have made their mark on the Washington Nationals like Livan Hernandez, Yunel Escobar and even Gio Gonzalez. The Nationals made their largest Cuban signing in Yunesky Maya which never worked out, and in September signed 29-year-old Cuban outfielder Yadiel Hernandez for a $200,000 signing bonus.
According to Eric Longenhagen, “The level of talent remaining in Cuba is poor. After years of monolithic talents leaving the island to play Major League Baseball, the well is nearly dry and more talented young players are leaving than ever.”
It was once rumored that Fidel Castro himself had a try-out with the Washington Senators, however, that story was said to be false in a Snopes article.
In March, the governments of Cuba and the United States sanctioned an exhibition game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban team in Havana. At that time there appeared to be some progress towards diplomacy.
This will be an on-going story on the normalization of Cuban-American diplomacy, and we hope this leads to positive change.