Monday, March 06, 2006
Tuesday's game between Venezuela and the Dominican Republic promises to be a good one. One of these two just may win it all in the end. Anyway, check out the article below from Granma about the Cuban team (not a favorite to take home the gold ring or whatever the winner gets to take home).
Fidel receives national baseball team
ON Sunday, March 5, at the Palace of the Revolution, President Fidel Castro Ruz received the selection for the national baseball team that is representing Cuba at the World Baseball Classic, minutes after they were presented with the national flag at the José Martí national monument.
For almost two hours and in a friendly atmosphere, the president chatted with the athletes, their coaches, INDER leaders and Cuban reporters who are covering the important sporting event, and inquired in a detailed manner about their training, the indoor stadiums with artificial turf where they will play, the schedule, the event’s broadcast, the continuation of Cuba’s National Series, and other issues.
He was especially interested in the special rules for pitching and asked how Cuba’s pitchers had prepared themselves for that.
Fidel spoke of his love for baseball since childhood, and recalled some anecdotes of his experiences as a pitcher and outfielder. Back then, games took place in sugar mill communities, and players were only known within a three-kilometer radius, he said.
“So, I understand what it means for you to be known all over the world and for our country to be well known everywhere,” the president commented. “This is an honorable country and a respected country, because it has known how to struggle with dignity and courage.”
The president noted that this would be the toughest competition ever faced by the Cuban players, and that the nation was aware of that; however, he said, there is a lot of confidence in the quality and commitment of their players. “We trust in your quality, your honor and your firmness.”
Fidel pointed out the tremendous performance of the Cuban team against the Baltimore Orioles, and encouraged the selection to give it their all on the field.
“I bid you farewell with the words of Che: ‘Hasta la Victoria siempre!’” he concluded. On Tuesday, March 7, the team departs for San Juan, Puerto Rico, where they will be competing, and their first game is against Panama on Wednesday, March 8 at 2:00 p.m.
DELEGATION RECEIVES FLAG
The team representing Cuba at the World Classic was presented with the national flag on Sunday by Esteban Lazo Hernández, member of the Political Bureau of the Party, at the foot of José Martí Monument in Plaza de la Revolucion.
When the ceremony began, Osmany Urrutia and Carlos A. Tabares, representing their fellow players, laid a wreath at the foot of the monument. Team captain Eduardo Paret, accompanied by Michel Enriquez and Ariel Pestano, received the national flag from the hands of Lazo.
Yulieski Gourriel read out the players’ oath and emphasized that they will give it their all on the field, with the assurance that they are supported by more than 11 million Cubans.
In final comments, Christian Jiménez, president of INDER, praised the preparation efforts by the national selection, their trainers and other experts, all extremely disciplined.