It didn’t take long for the Cuban baseball forces to regain the momentum and fully atone for last summer’s embarrassing whitewashing on North American soil versus the USA Collegiate All-Stars. In a renewal five-game set that proved even more one-sided than last year’s blanking by the Americans, the youth-studded Cuban squad swept to five straight wins, including a trio of classic one-run-margin gems, and in the processes regained full control of the mid-summer showcase “Friendly Series” now in the third year of its present incarnation.
This year’s renewal of the long-anticipated Cuba-USA “friendly series” has looked pretty one-sided if one stares only at box scores or printed game results. Four straight nail-biting one-run losses at the hands of the American collegians is certainly not what either the collective Cuban fandom or the Cuban Federation baseball brain trust had in mind.
On the eve of the summer’s second important international event Team Cuba already faces what is becoming an all-too familiar scenario – a mound corps reduced to bare minimum before the first pitch is tossed and the first bat swung. Villa Clara southpaw Misael Silverio left the team hotel in West Des Moines on Tuesday evening to pursue his dream of joining the North American professionals and eventually earning his fortunes with Major League Baseball. The defection came shortly after the team’s arrival via tour bus from their original USA arrival point in Chicago.