|Robert Galbraith/Reuters/LandovCastro believes the future of Cuban baseball relies on severing ties with the country's political past.|
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In Cuba, when you speak about baseball, baseball is not a sport. It's a culture. When the boy is born, the father's gift is the bat and the ball. Through baseball, we teach our children everything about life. We can show our children how to win, lose, respect other people and work in groups.
A lot, a lot. The economic problems for sure, because we need bats, we need gloves, we need balls, we need everything. We have players going to play and win millions of dollars [in America]. I mean, you have a player who can go from playing on a high-caliber team here in Cuba, where you can't even get bats ... to the next day making millions playing for the Yankees or the Dodgers or any other major league team. We've lost a lot of ballplayers. I think that we have to work, not only on the Cuban side but on the side of the United States as well, in Major League Baseball, to -- try to find a realistic solution to this problem.
I think we have to look for a solution to this now. The fans don't have to keep losing out on seeing their ballplayers here, or for them to go and play in other leagues and then not be able to come back and play with the Cuban national team. I think our ballplayers who trained here earned the right to go play in other leagues and measure themselves against a higher level. They should be able to do it -- without fear -- and come back and play with their national team. And then in one way or another also play in the leagues here in Cuba. Then no one loses. And they don't have to be separated from their family, from their friends.
|Desmond Boylan/Reuters/LandovCastro is quick to avoid questions about his father, Fidel, and how the former president views the recent rule changes.|
The way I feel, in the future the money is for the players. The most important thing is the player's money, and they decide to do with this money what they want to do. I don't see this as a problem, no.
I don't see the problem with that because now in Cuba we have artists and musicians who travel outside and bring their money back here. Maybe not millions, but in life, you have a social difference. Let me tell you, the baseball players here in Cuba, all the people love them. If one player comes with millions, everybody loves this guy for sure because the baseball in Cuba is different. The most important [thing] for people is not the millions. The most important [thing] for the Cuban people, for the fanatics, is to see this guy play at the highest level.
We need to discuss this, because the rules are the rules. U.S. law impedes the Cuban ballplayers from playing in the big leagues without breaking with their country. That is, they have to break ties with Cuba. They have to become, whether they want to or not, defectors. Because they say that the money that a ballplayer earns could benefit Havana. That's a crazy idea, isn't it? I think Cuba has to budge. Cuba has to do things. Also on the side of Major League Baseball, we need to sit down together and talk about this openly, to search for a realistic solution to this issue.
Oh, it's amazing. If you walk through the streets and ask everybody, the people for sure will tell you it's a dream. They want to see these players play a game with the Cuban national team. And you know the problem exists and [Cuba and MLB] need to resolve this. The question is, why not? Why don't we find the solution? The only thing we need is the will to do that. For sure we can find a solution, but we need to work together -- everybody.