Requiem for the slugger from Bejucal

As Maradona made millions of dwarves play all over the world, convinced that height was not an obstacle to shine in soccer, Romelio Martinez (bridging distances) encouraged hundreds of “fatties” to fight against old schemes to grab a place in Cuban baseball.

Defying any archetype of the ideal ballplayer, the slugger of Bejucal stripped baseballs as if they were oranges and was for me the best natural designated hitter in the history of Cuban baseball. Others, like Kindelan, had assumed that turn, but circumstantially, as Romelio himself covered left field every now and then.

In barely 13 National Series (let’s remember he was another of the victims of the “early collective retirement”) he hit 370 home runs and is fourth in the historical list, alongside the first, who broke the 300 barrier, Antonio Muñoz.

But “Fatty” accomplished it with the best frequency when it comes to sending the ball beyond the limits of the field (one homer every 12.84 official appearances) and also owns the best Power Factor (which measures the total number of bases per hit) with 2.01.

Those stats speak for themselves, but in addition, Romelio is also among the first Cuban ballplayers in walk percentage, clear indicator of the respect he inspired.

His overdimensioned average played dirty tricks on him more than once, affected his slugging and kept him out of Cuban pre-selections. Even, when he made up the Cuba national baseball team, by dint of his long-ball hitting, some wanted him to lose kilograms.

However, numbers alone cannot gather the greatness of a player who was also an example in and out of the fields, even after his retirement, and whose big hits disappeared on the horizon. I remember once at Nelson Fernandez ballpark, when one of his long homers disappeared over the fences, and later some commented that it fell on a table where some people were playing dominoes, tens of meters from the stadium’s fence.

That’s why; the slugger from Bejucal cannot be out of my ideal team of the National Series.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

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Baseball Effervescence

It’s been several years that no one called my editorial office by phone to ask about the result of a game of our National Baseball Series.

Last Monday, I was surprised by a fan, who wanted to know the result of a clash between Matanzas and Granma, suspended because of the rain the day before.

Someone may find it unimportant, but quite the opposite. When there is popular interest for our #1 sports show, and not only in the post-season stage, where logically emotions grow, we should feel happy.

Furthermore, if it is a game that does not involve even the teams holding the first two places in the standings, and this makes me reflect, because it goes beyond a particular event.

It is about the moment of glory that our national pastime is living among its fans nowadays. We still do not have the international results we deserve by tradition, but the first step is achieved at home, when baseball is breathed everywhere.

I have never been against other sports, the opposite, I love diversity and think that in a 24-hour broadcast all tastes can be satisfied, but baseball is baseball.

Outside the postseason, it was very hard to find numerous comments about our championship on the street, since they were only reduced to the atmosphere of the so-called ‘peñas deportivas’ (sports clubs). I dare to say that among young people, they talk more about soccer than about baseball, but right now, the sport of balls and strikes has regained ground.

But now, we cannot let it fall and should keep the initiatives at the stadiums, discipline inside and outside baseball fields, combativeness in every clash and dedication for the uniform, which jointly with a suitable disclosure, will help keep this flame alive at least until the end of the Caribbean Series, something that shouldn’t be too complicated either.

In particular, I am very pleased that baseball returns to the fore…and that calls do not stop.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

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Baseball: Matanzas sets record of wins in Cuban National series

Matanzas became the new record-holder of wins in a 90-game season of the Cuban National Baseball Series by reaching 67 victories when knocking out 16-1 Granma, surpassing the previous record set by Industriales (66) in 2003.

Lefty Irandy Castro (5-1) earned the win while Yanier Gonzalez got his sixth loss and there were offensive highlight for Yordanis Samon, Erwin Caballero and Yasiel Santoya, who all homered for the cause of the Crocodiles.

Thus, the squad managed by Victor Mesa swept away Granma after allowing them only two runs in this sub-series, they had already won Saturday´s two games (10-0 and 6-1), and also increased their winning streak to six.

DH Samon now appears leader in several stats such as hits (124), doubles (26), RBIs (74), runs (63) and total bases (183).

In Sunday other games, Holguín beat Villa Clara 7-6 and Camagüey defeated 8-7 the defending champion Ciego de Avila.

However, these results did not change the standings, so, with only one subseries left, it is almost certain that Ciego de Avila and Villa Clara to be the other opponents in the opening of the postseason.


G W L AVE DIF Streak L-10
MTZ 87 67 20 .770 - + 6 8-2
CAV 87 56 31 .644 11,0 - 2 4-6
VCL 87 50 37 .575 17,0 - 1 5-5
GRA 87 48 39 .552 19,0 - 3 2-8
HOL 87 42 45 .483 25,0 + 1 6-4
CMG 87 38 49 .437 29,0 + 2 5-5

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Great Baseball Performance by Alfredo Despaigne

Just as happened last year, Alfredo Despaigne, who is the Cuban baseball player from Granma province, is carrying out another outstanding baseball season this current year 2016 at the Professional league of Japan in which he is registering 290 as his average, along with 76 hits through 262 periods at batting.

Alfredo Despaigne goes fourth in hits at the Pacific baseball league, while he goes third in scored runs with 43 ones and fourth in RBIs. He has scored 14 doubles and 11 homers, respectively.

On Sunday, his team lost to the Giants from Yomiuri one as part of a match carried out between different leagues, it concluded five runs to one and he was placed fourth at batting order in spite of he registered a three to zero performance at batting with a base-on ball.

The Marines squads are just seven games and a half ahead from the Softbank Hawks team in the Pacific, while the Carp from Hiroshima are leading the Central league with 40 wins and 17 defeats and six ahead of Alfredo Despaigne.

Regarding the rest of the Cuban athletes who are taking part in that baseball, José Adolis has zero from seven periods at batting, along with three times stricken out on that first baseball level after having accumulated a 325 average in the minor league, and Héctor Mendoza from Pinar del Río registered six hits and five runs after five innings, respectively.

The interleague matches concluded on Monday and there have been a time off period until today when Chunichi team will face off the Yakult one, the Dena team will face off the Yomiuri ones and the Hanshin squad will face off the Hiroshima one in the central league, while the games will be carried out by teams such as the Softbank against Rakuten one, the Lotte squad against the Seibu one and the Nippon team against Ham Orix one in that order.

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Cuban baseball playoff goes to fifth game

Pinar del Rio beat 6-3 Ciego de Avila and scored their first victory against three losses in the final play off of the Cuban baseball championship in its 55th edition, in match that took place at Capitan San Luis stadium, in this city.

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Holguin sweeps Pinar del Rio in Cuban baseball

HAVANA, Cuba, Dec 22 (acn) Holguin starred the only sweep in the last subseries of Cuban baseball championship when defeating twice Pinar del Río, starting to regain ground in the struggle for access to the postseason.

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