With anthology names, Cuban baseball prepares everyone’s team

Baseball anthology names aspire to lead the Cuban team of all in its debut in the Intercontinental Series in Barranquilla, Colombia, from January 26 to February 1.

Yuliesky Gurriel and his brother Lourdesl, Aroldis Chapman and Jorge Soler were some of the consecrated people who attended the official start of the Cuban blunderbuss training for the tournament organized by the legendary Edgar Rentería.

The manager of the team of the largest of the Antilles, Brayan Peña, and the bench coach Euclides Rojas along with other coaches and players were at the North Campus of Miami Dade College since last Saturday in preparations.

Only on Monday was the first official appointment. Edilberto Oropesa and Hansel Izquierdo Isaac also attended there.

“It is an honor to be in a field sharing with so many figures,” said Peña. “It is a special, unique moment. The great stimulus that moves us is to give hope to our people.”

The Cuban team formed by the Cuban Professional Baseball Federation will have its debut in the Barranquilla event with the participation of six countries.

There will be Cuba, Colombia, Curacao, the United States, Japan and South Korea. The Cuban ninth will debut against Japan on January 26.

“Seeing different generations of players who have given so much glory to Cuba is a privilege,” Peña added. “Beyond all the emotional part, we have to practice because we have a battle ahead of us.” “Seeing different generations of players who have given so much glory to Cuba is a privilege,” Peña added. “Beyond all the emotional part, we have to practice because we have a battle ahead of us.”

It will be the first time that Cuban baseball will be represented by a team of everyone, with the doors open for whoever has the quality and desire to join, and the purpose of this organization is to unite everyone without any kind of differences.

A personality of the importance of Orlando “El Duque” Hernández is the general manager and Anniel Izquierdo is the executive director.

“We always focus on respect, humility and brotherhood,” said Hernández during the press conference he offered in a special program on Mega TV directed by Camilo Loret de Mola. “Cuba forms a team of everyone to play in Barranquilla.”

On that occasion, “El Duque” made it clear that in the Intercontinental Series the FEPCUBE team will wear the colors of Cuba and according to the organizers, the same rules will be maintained for all participating countries when singing the national anthems.

“We are Cubans,” said “El Duque” about the right to share the national symbols and colors of his country.

Rojas made it clear that the objective of the FEPCUBE and the national team is to “play baseball” and unite everyone. On that basis they work to take advantage of the rich material that Cuba has.

One of the most moving stories is that of the pitcher Oropesa, who will look for his first opportunity to play for Cuba in Barranquilla.

In 1993, in Buffalo, Oropesa was ready to throw the first pitch for the Cuban team at a university, but before doing so he decided to jump the fence and escape. After that, he managed to reach the Major Leagues and add four seasons playing for the Philadelphia Phillies, Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres between 2001 and 2004.

“Now I will have the opportunity to play,” Oropesa told “El Duque.”

The man who won the most titles in the history of baseball, multiple World Series winner with the New York Yankees and once with the Chicago White Sox, Olympic, World and Pan American champion, dodged Oropesa’s pitch.

“That is decided by the team manager, who is Brayan Peña,” replied “El Duque.” “You have to talk to him.”

Pena smiled. He knows everything it means to Oropesa to play for the Cuban team. He has waited so long for this moment. And, above all, he sees the enormous excitement in him.

“Happily we have a lot of talent on our team,” Peña told Oropesa. “You have to work hard in these weeks to make the team.”

“El Duque” added that many illustrious players and coaches have joined this project and mentioned Liván Hernández, Rene Arrocha, Jorge Luis Toca and Michael Tejera, among others.

The delegation’s trip to Barranquilla was scheduled for January 23. This is one of the projects that has most excited the Cuban community.

Ian Padrón, spokesperson for the FEPCUB, stated that Cuban baseball waited 65 years to form a team of all and be able to participate without divisions in a competition.

“This is a very important project because for the first time it will unite many Cubans around baseball,” Padrón said in the program on Mega TV. “The players themselves are going to choose with absolute freedom if they want to play for the team.”