Photo courtesy of: BaseballdeCuba.com
Major League Baseball doesn't start until April. But you don't have to wait for Spring to get your "beisbol" fix. The hugely entertaining Cuban Baseball League is in full swing. And you can watch talented island ballplayers LIVE.
It won't cost you a dime to log-on to BaseballdeCuba.com You'll see LIVE webcasts of games, commentary and fascinating player profiles. And when the legendary Cuban national team competes in international play, you can watch all the thrilling highlights.
Chicago baseball history has a rich tradition of Cuban "peloteros" (ballplayers). For whatever reason, they seem to prefer the Southside. From the great Minnie Minoso to Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez, Jose Contreras and the "Cuban Missle" (Alexi Ramirez), Cubanos have been major contributors to White Sox division titles, championship pennants and of course, the magnificent 2005 World Series title run.
So if you've got cabin fever and need hardball NOW, the Cuban league may help you survive until Opening Day. As they like to say in Havana, it's time to "play beisbol !"
photos courtesy baseballdecuba.com
(Chicago) You can almost lace up the skates at the "frozen confines" of Wrigley Field. The turf is a hockey rink, this time of year. So to get the blood circulating again, let's talk about "beisbol."
For the better part of a century, the Cuban Winter League was the hot-spot of the baseball universe - south of the Florida Straits. For Americans making the passage to Havana, the winter league was the place to get your baseball fix (along with a good "mojito")
Colorful Cuban pitchers, like Connie Marrero and Martin Dihigo brought their searing "heat" against the very best American players. All-time greats like Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige played in the famous Cuban League. And for baseball aficionados, lucky enough to witness these hotly-contested games, it was paradise on the diamond.
Nobody knows more about Cuban baseball than Peter Bjarkman. From "Smoke: The Romance & Love of Cuban Baseball," to "A History of Cuban Baseball," the Lafayette, Indiana author knows the amazing history of the island game, dating back 150 years. He's chronicled the legendary contests between Negro League greats - against their talented Cuban counterparts. The end result were games of amazing grace and ferocious intensity.
Bjarkman, who's traveled to Cuba more than 50 times, very generously provided us with these rare pictures of the old Cuban Winter League.
If you want to read more about Cuban "beisbol," log on to this fascinating website: www.baseballdecuba.com/ You can watch LIVE webcasts of modern-day Cuban ballplayers (or "peloteros"). You can also visit my Oldhavanafoods.blogspot.com for a special feature on Cuba's super-fan (a legendary baseball "fanatico" we interviewed in Havana on a WGN-TV News assignment to Cuba). Sadly, "El Tintorero" (the Dry Cleaner) passed away several years ago. But the irrepressible Habanero will always be remembered for bringing so much passion to the game he loved - the one-of-a-kind game of Cuban 'beisbol.'
Photos courtesy of: BaseballdeCuba.com