PHOENIX—At different stops along the line this spring, in Fort Myers, Surprise and Glendale, players of Cuban ancestry have asked, “why not have a Cuban-American team in the World Baseball Classic?”
The thought of a sold-out stadium in Miami with Cuba playing the Cuban-Americans is fascinating. Watching Cuba playing Japan at 3:45 a.m. MT, it developed.
Eric Hosmer suggested it, and offered his friend Deven Marrero as a teammate on the proposed team. “I think it would be a great tribute to Cuba, period,” says Yasmani Grandal, who was born in Havana and raised in Florida. “No matter what has happened, we are all very proud of the Cuban culture. We are very proud of the Cuban baseball culture. It would be great. Maybe it would have a healing affect.” Nolan Arenado, who visited Cuba this off-season, says he would “love” to play on such a team.
We could suggest Mike Lowell as general manager, Fredi Gonzalez as manager. They could have Grandal catching, Hosmer and Arenado at the infield corners. Yulieski Gurriel, Aledmys Diaz, Jose Iglesias, Yoan Moncada, Marrero, Yunel Escobar in the middle infield.
The outfield could include Yoenis Cespedes, Leonys Martin, J.D. Martinez, Yasiel Puig, Jorge Soler, Albert Almora, Jon Jay, Guillermo Heredia, Yasmany Tomas for outfielders. Kendrys Morales and Yonder Alonso bats.
It would be a tribute to those people who left Cuba for American freedom, with acknowledgement to stars from the post-revolution period, like Tony Perez, Tony Oliva, Luis Tiant and so many others. As well as fallen Marlins star Jose Fernandez.
It is worth a thought in adding further to the tournament.