Juan Kubala Speaks of: Olivera

The National Series has just started, and already wish it ends. Do I deserve to be called implacable? It can be. But I’ve always felt aversion to long and painful illness, and that’s what happens with Cuban pastime.

I’ll say it again: cancer is not the inability (or excessive flexibility) of Higinio, nor the insolence of Victor or the peanut cones Vargas eats. Cancer is housed above in the central nervous system of the championship. Cancer, as we know, has no cure.

I was chatting with a good friend about baseball. I had just arrived in Havana from Spain, and came with the head full of white goals, Barca poems and deeds by the Atletico. But the call of the jungle-that play ball! I have as a incurable virus in my veins was stronger than fatigue from the transatlantic flight…

Juan, they say Hector Olivera is gone. Do you know if that physical problem had been doping?

I have been told that he was injecting peanut oil, which is a Paleolithic variant of doping.

‘And it is sure he is gone?

Wait till I make a call.

Five minutes later…

Yes, Raul, a source at the Santiago Commission tells me Olivera is in the Dominican Republic.

-Damn! Of all the problems of the baseball, the worst is that they leave, as they leave, the best talent. That is the main problem of the country as well.

And that really is not the fault of Higinio or VM.

Of course not. Doctors, engineers, technicians, journalists, all are professionals who can do it, too, will.

And speaking of journalists … My friend, do you think those who write of baseball still want to do it?

Of course not. Now they are speaking positively on the amount of rookies and one-year players. As if that had anything good. In no decent tournament 130 players make their debut in a single season, unless that happens after a world war.

‘The hazing is synonymous with massive, my brother.

And of crisis.

You see? I do not think there is such a crisis … what happens is that the guys, gifted, go. Perhaps there are not as many players as in the 80s, but there is no crisis. What’s more, if at that time Linares, Kindelan and company had gone, the wise would have appeared discussing crisis too.

‘The individual talent and quality of Cuban baseball player is intact and contrasted, Juan, now more than in the 80s. But there is a crisis, because the system (if there is one) of individual development and team-level competition is bad, is outdated and manipulated almost as the mafia does.

Sure, I was referring to the quality crisis. The structural crisis is evident. But inconceivably, after the Special Period wild talent keeps coming. Little more, little less than before.

-Despite of everything…

-Despite the lack of food. The fact is that what they could not supply with food made ​​up for it with irons. Or do you think Puig looked like a bodybuilder because he ate well in Cienfuegos? Or that Despaigne is so string because he eats a lot? Kindelan was like that out of meat. The boys now, by pumping iron, because in the end this gym culture had to come sometime to the baseball. That has saved us the talent because there are no trainers.

That is a forgotten part. Migration, lawful and not, of trainers, is as great as that of young talented players, and of course, more damaging.

But most preventable, because the vast majority, technicians are not worth much and are more conservative, less likely to start a new life people. A talent at 20… Never mind, those won’t be held there.

Well of course.

If INDER looks after them, if it gives trainers 200 CUC a month, two out of a thousand would go. No more.

No there is a policy, there is no intention to keep them in Cuba. So the National Series is full of technicians who could well be in a bleacher talking about what people talk over there

And that´s why people on the street could well be in the dugouts. People who were on the ball and now sell electrical effects or became masons to survive. By the way, I was looking the data for you; you know how many rookies have played in the majors this year?

How many?

-62, two per team. And many of them are not rookies, but ROOKIES … like Abreu, Betances, Tanaka, Ventura, Soler. Great players, Rodolfo Garcia would say.

They’re rookies because they make their debut in the MLB, but many already showed their class in other leagues.

Look at the Betances. Experience he is bringing as a minor league, and his numbers are enough for him to be Rookie of the Year if not for Abreu. That guy is 5-0 with less than 1.50 and 1.5 strikeouts per inning in the Yankees…!

‘I would like to see him as a starter in the National Series.

-You can bet on it: 15-0 with 2 strikeouts per inning. Or rather, 15-1, for any jetk in the filed will blow his game.

Or some genius of leadership, with their lineups and strategies.

Also. Because the line-ups make me cry. Honestly, I cannot take this ball, I swear. Fortunately, they are bringing me 15 MLB games weekly. And you ask me if I see the National Series!

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