Granma International, English Edition: "Reflections of Fidel
We are the ones to blame
IN the game between the Japanese and Cuban teams that concluded today at close to 3:00 a.m., we were unquestionably defeated. The organizers of the Classic decided that the three countries holding the first three places in world baseball should confront each other in San Diego, including Cuba arbitrarily in the Asian group despite the fact being the Caribbeans that we are. ....
What mattered to the organizers was to eliminate Cuba, a revolutionary country that has heroically resisted and has remained undefeated in the battle of ideas. Nevertheless, one day we shall again be a dominant power in that sport.
I should point out that the team leadership in San Diego was abysmal. The old criteria of well-trodden paths prevailed against a capable adversary who is constantly innovating.
We must learn the relevant lessons. ...
In Cuba, where we practice almost all sports and have numerous amateur players, baseball has become a national passion.
... Korea and Japan, two countries that are geographically at a good distance from the United States, have invested abundant economic resources into that imported, or imposed, sport.
Japan, a developed and wealthy country with more than 120 million inhabitants, has devoted itself to developing baseball. Like everything within the capitalist system, professional sports are big business, but national will has imposed rigorous standards on their professional players.
Training sessions are incredibly rigorous and methodical. They have devised technical methods to develop the reflexes required by every player. Every day, batters practice with hundreds of balls pitched by left- or right-handers. As for the pitchers, they are obliged to throw 400 balls every day. It they commit any error during the game, they have to pitch another 100. They do it with pleasure, as if it were a form of self-punishment. In that way, they acquire a notable muscle control that obeys orders sent by their brains. That is why their pitchers’ ability to place balls exactly where they want them amazes everyone. Similar methods are applied to all of the activities each of the athletes must carry out in the positions that they defend and in their activities as batters.
Athletes are developing with similar characteristics in the other Asian country: the Republic of Korea, which has already become a powerhouse in professional world baseball.
...In a nutshell, we have to revolutionize the methods for the preparation and development of our athletes, not just in baseball, but in all the sports disciplines.