Thursday, December 15, 2005

Is Castro still alive?

Cuba can't send team to WBC
Cuba won't be allowed to send a team to next year's inaugural World Baseball Classic, the U.S. government told event organizers Wednesday.

The decision by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control was conveyed to Major League Baseball on Wednesday, according to Pat Courtney, a spokesman for the Commissioner's office.

A permit from OFAC is necessary because of U.S. laws governing certain commercial transactions with Fidel Castro's communist island nation.

This is a bonehead move by a bonehead administration. They're BASEBALL players, for chrissake, not terrorists! It's doubtful they're even communists, you know, those evil people who used to be the bad guys before the terrorists started using planes as missles? And is denying the Cuban team the right to come and play in this international tournament of superstars going to force Castro out of office?

Even if the US rationale behind the decision is to prevent players from defecting, that is morally wrong. Why shouldn't these players be granted asylum from Castro's regime? I mean, if Castro is as bad as the US government says, why won't they grant asylum? And frankly, the Nats need pitchers. (Why are the defectors mostly pitchers?)

Our historical Major League Baseball heroes may not have been the best ever. How many players would have beaten Ruth's record far sooner than Aaron had they been allowed to play in the Majors? Josh Gibson was the greatest baseball player to ever live, but he isn't a household name. Why? Because he had to play in the Negro Leagues on account of his skin color. Gibson hit over 900 career homeruns to Ruth's 714. Longtime Cuban shortstop (best ever?) Omar Linares hit a career 404 homeruns and .368 batting average, but he never saw the inside of a Major League Ballpark. Which is worse, denying play due to skin color or denying refuge from a dictator?

This is another example of a government using people as a political punching bag, and frankly, the one who made this decision is no better than Castro.

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