Cuban Baseball

Suppose you had to choose between the dream of a lifetime and ever seeing you family again. How would you choose?IMG_20160617_203801

What if the choice was between riches and poverty? That’s an easy one. Except with the money you lose your family and your home. Does that change the equation?

There are a group of young men in Ottawa this weekend who have had to grapple with that scenario, and they chose poverty, family and country. They are Cuba’s national baseball team, and last night was the first of three games against the Ottawa Champions.

The pinnacle of professional baseball is the major leagues in the United States. Because of the strained international relations between the US and Cuba it has been more than 50 years since there has been free movement between the nations.IMG_20160617_204102

Once there were many Cuban ball players who sought fame and fortune in the U.S. Cubans have a passion for the sport; they are good at it, and the major leagues, even the minor leagues, offered a way out of poverty.

That changed once Fidel Castro took power in Cuba and the U.S instituted a trade embargo. If a Cuban wanted to play baseball in the U.S. he had to find a way to defect – and there was no coming back. The government wouldn’t allow it. Either of them.

Relations are thawing between the two countries, and in the not too distant future Cuban ball players may not have to make that hard choice between fame and family.

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