An apparent shoo-in to walk off with 2014 American League Rookie of the Year honors, José Dariel Abreu has now completed a summer-long debut performance in Chicago that surprised even the most ardent advocates who had watched him tear up Cuban League pitching for much of the past half-dozen winter seasons. Abreu hardly flashed on to the big league scene as a lightning bolt shot out of nowhere; he was hardly an “unknown quantity” for those who had followed the Cuban domestic national pastime across recent winter seasons.
Rodolfo Sorís (1-0) allowed one unearned run in seven solid innings and Holguín knocked out Noelvis Entenza (0-1) in the sixth inning, as the Holguín Cubs beat 5-2 the undefeated Industriales Lions on Tuesday night at Calixto García Stadium in Holguín.
Whether or not the manager Lázaro Vargas is actually the reason for the win streak Industriales is having during the beginning of the 54th National Series, is up for debate, but one thing is not. The Industriales are playing well and their pitchers are the best in the league.
On Sunday, Lourdes Gourriel, Jr. and Frank Camilo Morejón homered. Morejón drove in four runs, and the Industriales Lions beat Santiago de Cuba 7-5.
NB: The following interview was first published in Spanish on the Reynaldo Cruz MLBlog.com site (Universo Béisbol). Here is the original English-language version of the full interview.
RC: You have been involved with researching and spreading the word about the history of Cuban baseball. When, how and why did you first become interested in this topic?
The 54th Cuban National Series, the main baseball tournament on the island, began on Sunday with the game between Matanzas and Pinar del Rio.
The first game was played in Captain San Luis Stadium in Pinar del Rio, in Cuba's extreme west. Matanzas beat Pinar del Río 5-1 behind LHP Yoanni Yera.
After the opening game on Sunday, the season will begin earlier for the first time in more than 50 years.
Sixteen teams will take part in the 54th National Series.
Note: On Wednesday morning (April 23, 2014) Conrado Marrero passed away quietly in his native Havana, Cuba, marking the end to one of the most celebrated and tenacious baseball lives on record. The sad news comes less than two days before the seemingly ageless Cuban legend would have reached his 103rd birthday, extending a remarkable string as MLB’s oldest surviving alumnus and the third longest-lived professional baseball player ever.