Thursday, January 12, 2006

Keep Cuba out

Roberto González Echevarría says that's exactly what should be done about Cuba's participation in the World Baseball Classic. His argument is that the players are slaves and that Cuban sport is racist. I like this column. I like how he uses the relatively unimportant issue of ballplayers' lives to illustrate greater truths about Cuba - it's run by a cruel dictatorship.

Yet, I think he's wrong. He's described the problem with Cuba very well, but the remedy shouldn't necessarily be with the government. If the American government bans the Cuban team, that will only serve to feed the 'Castro government's a victim' publicity machine.

It would be far more effective if the players and managers of the other teams recognized the truth of Echevarria's description and decided among themselves that Cuba should be barred unless their fellow ballplayers are treated with respect by the Cuban government and allowed to go abroad to seek the best competition. Yao Ming plays basketball in the NBA, why shouldn't Cuban baseball players play in the Major Leagues?