In stadiums where fans do the samba
For a week in March I traveled to
Baseball fans know the story well.
Leaving the country is illegal for baseball players, and those who have left are unlikely to ever return, at least while the current government regime stays in power.
Some Cuban players have gone on to become major league stars, like brothers Livan and Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez, who both pitched their teams to World Series glory, or Angel slugger Kendry Morales.
And in the last year or two there’s been a surge in Cuban
players leaving. Here in
My hope for the project is that it will appeal to more than just baseball fanaticos. While these players may have hero status in their country, they live the same way as other Cubans.
We stayed in
Riding the bus with an Industriales fan, we told him we were still confused about a lot of what we learned. He laughed, and told us we were trying to figure out in a week what he hasn’t been able to figure out during his entire life on the island.
A Cuban man collects empty cans ad bottles in a cart adorned with
gun-toting, cigarette-smoking dolls.
It’s been more than 50 years since the Cuban revolution, and while this history is still tangible on the streets there‘s less fresh propaganda. The government is officially socialist now, led by Fidel Castro’s brother Raul. Army and police officers are a common sight, but they hassle Cubans less, our sources tell us.
For players, baseball could be a way to get by or it could be a way out. But the decision to leave is not an easy one. That decision is what I’m interested in.
My final project isn’t scheduled to be published until August, but if you’d like to get in touch, or have any tips for me, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @johnrieti.
Until then, Star readers, keep reading Morgan Campbell's (@MorganPCampbell) outstanding coverage of these players and baseball in general.