El slugger cubano Alfredo Despaigne, vistiendo el uniforme de los Leñadores de Las Tunas, tras anotar una carrera ante los Cardenales de Lara, de Venezuela, en la Serie del Caribe celebrada en Panamá en 2019. Foto: Bienvenido Velasco / EFE / Archivo.

Baseball: Cuba will return to the Caribbean Series in 2023

The Caribbean Professional Baseball Confederation (CBPC) announced this Friday that Cuba will participate as a special guest in the Caribbean Series of 2023, to be held in Venezuela in the month of February, according to official media on the island.

Juan Francisco Puello, commissioner of the CBPC, who made the announcement during a press conference via on-line from the capital of the Dominican Republic, according to a publication of the specialized site Hit.

Under the same condition, a team from Curaçao will participate, in such a way that for the first time in the history of these events, eight teams will compete in the event. The two teams now invited will join the cast of Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and the host team in Caracas, adds the media.

The publication clarifies that the Dominican Puello said during the announcement that he was not ready to say if Cuba and Curaçao would remain for the 2024 edition, when the contest will move its actions to the American city of Miami.

Giuseppe Palmisano, president of the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League (LVBP) and president of the organizing committee of the 2023 Caribbean Series, informed the press that the Caribbean classic will be held from February 2 to 10 in two stadiums in the metropolitan area of the Venezuelan capital.

Palmisano also explained that it will be played by a system of all against all in each venue from February 2 to 8, while on the 9th there will be the semifinals and on the 10th the grand final. He also said that the final calendar will be announced during the summer, according to what he points out. Hit.

The publication underlines that Juan Reynaldo Pérez, president of the Cuban Baseball Federation (FCB), who reported that this organization is working on the creation of an elite league on the Island, whose champion could represent it in the tournament. Otherwise, that possibility would have the monarch of the current National Seriesadded the federation before announcing that the decision will be known in the coming days.

The information of Hit remember that Cuba was one of the founders of the CBPC and dominated the first stage of the Caribbean Series (between 1949 and 1960) with seven crowns in 12 versions, including the last five. La Isla returned as a special guest in the 2014 edition, held on Isla de Margarita, Venezuela, and won the 2015 edition in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

After its incursion in the 2019 edition in Panama, where the Leñadores de La Tunas lost in the final against the local Toros de Herrera, it closed the second stage of Cuban participation in these events, always as a guest.

In the 2020 Caribbean Series, held again in the capital of Puerto Rico, Cuba was substituted due to “alleged difficulties with the time available to process the US visas necessary to travel to Puerto Rico,” the FCB said at the time.

Then, and through an official statement, the governing body of baseball on the island blamed the CBPC for the absence of the Cuban team, considering that it had made the decision “yielding to arbitrary pressure from the United States government.” In addition, he cataloged the actions taken by Puello as “misleading,” whom he also pointed out for “hindering Cuba’s full membership in this genuinely Caribbean organization.”

This episode, however, seems to have been left behind now. This Friday’s announcement can then be interpreted as a sign of the willingness of both parties to turn the page, for the good of Cuban and Caribbean baseball.

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