More vioce from different place

From Mike Bauman of MLB.com: “Give baseball fans the gift of Cuba, It’s time to remember that the WBC is about a game”

“This isn’t the Cuban Missile Crisis any more. Cuba is no longer part of the Big Red Menace, “just 90 miles from our shores.” ”

“One of our primary “allies” in the Middle East is also, as a matter of public record, among the primary worldwide sponsors of terrorism. But if Saudi Arabia played baseball, you can bet that its team would be welcomed into this tournament with open arms. ”

“And for years we’ve been cozying up to the Chinese government, the same government that is still chasing down protestors in the streets. These guys make Fidel Castro look like a moderate Republican.”

“On the other side of the issue, the one thing for certain that you can say on behalf of Castro is that he likes baseball. He runs a baseball-playing nation. This is an essential difference between, for instance, Castro and Joseph Stalin, or Castro and Adolph Hitler, or Castro and Saddam Hussein. All three of those other guys were, one way or another, anti-ball.”

“Some issues should be larger than partisan politics. And the World Baseball Classic should be one of those issues. This is not about every country in the tournament meeting our seemingly exacting, but apparently fluctuating, standards for what constitutes our kind of country. This is about allowing the 16 leading baseball nations in the world to participate.”

“So we don’t like Castro’s politics. So we don’t like Castro’s beard. So we don’t like Castro’s anti-American attitudes. If that last one is a criterion for participation, then — oops — it looks like Venezuela can’t play either, because their lead guy is also no pal of the USA. You keep applying political considerations to a sporting event, and pretty soon, there is no sporting event.”

“If Cuba is allowed to play in the World Baseball Classic, the result will be good for baseball. And if the result is good for baseball? Bingo. It is also good for America. Case closed. Merry Christmas.”

From Richard Rapaport of San Francisco Chronicle, “The edict by the Treasury Department … is no minor error.”

“The silliest thing about this latest bit of foul-ball diplomacy is that baseball is exactly the weak spot through which to successfully attack Fidel and his red brigades.”

“Bringing Major League Baseball to Cuba would bring a whole new focus and dynamic to American relations with Latin America. It would be a dreadful shame to allow an aging embargo and a bunch of equally aging Castro-hating Cuban Americans to get in the way of what could be one of the great, and, for a change, utterly bloodless bits of nation-building in decades.”

From Sir Ronald Sanders of Antigua Sun, “American lovers of baseball – a game whose following knows no bounds of colour, creed or class – will be especially annoyed over the latest anti-Castro move to ban a Cuban team from participating next March in the Inaugural World Baseball Classic.”

Form Malcom Lagauche of uruknet.info, “boycott the tournament”

“This is a first. Even during the Cold War, national and club teams from eastern Europe or the Soviet Union played against teams from western Europe. On the ball field, political animosity was left behind.”

“This decision came as a surprise to everyone in the baseball community. There is absolutely no justification. Paranoia is striking deeper and deeper into the U.S. culture.”

“The only thing the U.S. likes as much as power is money. I am sure that if the international baseball community struck at the purse strings of companies, such as Wilson and Rawlings, that manufacture baseball equipment, you would see the mostly apolitical management of the sporting goods firms quickly take Cuba’s side.”

From Key West Citizen,: “Play ball! It’s that simple. Just two words that everyone who enjoys the game of baseball can understand.”

“It’s a game. It’s an exchange of cultures. We’d like to think it’s not tied in to politics. But, like everything involving the interaction between the United States and our neighbors of 80 miles away, Cuba, it does. It does because the U.S. government says it does.”

“The embargo has not benefited either country. And neither should it intrude into athletics. Let them play. Let them play ball!”

From GREG COTE of Miami Herald: “The decision is being decried by members of the Cuban team, who say it is totally unfair to deprive them their opportunity to defect.”

From Devon O’Neil of Summit Daily, “Easily the most disappointing instance of U.S. politics colliding with sports occurred last week”

“The shame lies here: Cuba has one of – if not the – richest baseball pipelines in the world. Every time we see a big-name Cuban player defect to the U.S., he is inevitably snatched up by a premier major league team hungry to win. This tournament has the potential to be one of the most exciting sporting events in recent memory, and Cuba would add a ton of intrigue. Thus, because of politics, the sports fan suffers. …”

From Charleston Gazette: “HUBRIS and stupidity. We couldn’t have said it better.”

“What’s standing in the way is an ill-conceived federal law banning any activity that might contribute economically to the Castro regime — that and the Bush administration’s stubbornness.”

“The attempt to isolate Cuba is one of Washington’s most spectacular and long-lived policy failures. It accomplishes nothing, except perhaps to help Fidel Castro by confirming the image of the United States as a mean-spirited bogeyman.”

From ANA CARBONELL, chief of staff, U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Miami: “Using baseball to deceive”

“This is a 47-year struggle, not an endless chase. It is about freedom vs. oppression and democracy vs. tyranny. In such a struggle there are never easy solutions, only principles that are paramount regardless of the time it takes to fight for them or whether you are alone in defending them. ”

”Castro’s team not being able to compete in the World Baseball Classic would serve as a reminder that there are 11 million people, 90 miles from our shores, who are still not free. That would be a small ”price to pay” for such an important reminder. ”

From Nat Hentoff of Jewish World Review: “Major League Baseball’s foul ball”

“The terrorizing Cuban dictator disagrees. During a recent five-hour speech on Cuban television — a concise talk for Castro — he spoke of the World Baseball Classic’s tribute to Cuban athletes while excoriating those Cuban players now in our big leagues who have left the country to be free. Should they return, of course, they would be locked into Castro’s gulags for so many years that their playing days would be over — if indeed they even lived through the prisons’ brutal, dehumanizing conditions.”

“Major League Baseball and the players union are working to reverse that decision. But what a message to people around the world striving for freedom it would be if a team of free Cubans were to take the field in the World Baseball Classic. A number of Cuban players in this country are eager to do just that.”

“Have Selig and the Major League Baseball Players Association no sense of shame?”

From The Post and Courier: “Reverse bad call on Cuba”

“Some influential Cuban-Americans who understandably hate Castro would love to torment him by barring Cuba from the World Baseball Classic, and have succeeded – for now – in doing so. That’s a losing game.”

“Banning Cuba’s baseball team from this tournament would hurt Castro in one sense by depriving him of a chance to see his best going against the world’s best. Yet in a larger sense, it would help Castro by again allowing him to play the victim of the counterproductive U.S. embargo policy.”

From Frank Deford of Sports Illustrated, “American dictators”

“Some Americans simply cannot accept the notion that somewhere, somehow Cuba might make a couple lousy Yankee dollars.”

“In a way, this posture is even more distasteful than when those anti-Semitic countries refuse to play Israel. At least those nations have the strength of their convictions sufficient to take themselves out of the games. We’re just being a bully. No, it’s our bat and our ball, and you can’t play.”

“If our dim, short-sighted government maintains this stance, there is only one reasonable alternative. All of the players in the tournament, from China to Venezuela, from the Netherlands to Australia, from Canada to the Dominican Republic . . . and yes from wherever our own players come from in these United States of America — all of these athletes must stand together in support of their baseball brethren of Cuba and tell the United States government: we’re out. Everybody plays baseball or nobody plays baseball.”

From Tom Timmerman of ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, “This is one of those cases where politics and rules go too far.”

“We’re talking about a baseball tournament. We’re talking about a sporting event. These are the things that, we like to say, bring people together. Yes, some money will be going from America to a government that many, though certainly not all, strongly disagree with. But it also seems that there is much to be gained. If we can play table tennis with China, we can find a way to play baseball with Cuba.”

From Portsmouth Herald, “This is hypocrisy and hubris of the highest order.”

“Cuba is a beleaguered, impoverished country, and we are no longer fighting the Cold War. If a poor state like Maine and a poor country like Cuba can strike a deal that is beneficial to the residents of both places, we say more power to them.”

From Midland Reporter-Telegram, “Best solution is to take politics out of sports”.

“This is a bit like taking Brazil out of the World Cup competition. This tournament might be that big in a few years. We have seen politics muck up sports before. We don’t need politics in sports. What we need is the best against the best regardless of their political leanings. Haven’t we already messed up enough Olympic Games with politics? We don’t need it here.”

“The best way to avoid the best is by not playing the best. No matter how you look at it, Cuba is a sad example of where we stand on the world front in both sports and politics.”

From Dayn Perry of FOXSports.com, “WBC’s credibility undermined without Cuba”.

“So don’t make the mistake of thinking that this is some noble stand for human rights on the part of the U.S.; rather, it’s a punitive measure toward a regime whose economic policies don’t benefit the American private sector.”

“So what they’re doing is pointlessly dragging politics into what should be a celebration of baseball as a global phenomenon. The WBC was poised to become the greatest international baseball tournament in the annals of the game, but because of the witless meddling of the powers that be, Cuba’s team won’t be a part of it.”

“If the Treasury Department had a scintilla of respect for the game of baseball and even a vague understanding of how their policies affect the hoi polloi of Cuba, they’d beat a hasty retreat from their wrongheaded mandate. ”

“But cynicism — and realism — says they won’t. If there’s a message they should hear, it’s this: keep your craven partisanships to yourself, and let the rest of us enjoy the World Baseball Classic as it should be — with Cuba in the fray.”

From Reading Eagle, “Politics and sports don’t mix. Let the Cubans play.”

“Granted, but there is no indication that such a decision is going to have any impact on that island nation, which has been under the authoritarian thumb of Fidel Castro for nearly 50 years.”

“The World Baseball Classic would have been an excellent opportunity for America to regain at least a small measure of standing by welcoming the teams of 16 nations to a World Cup-type tournament with games to be played in the United States as well as Japan and Puerto Rico.”

From By RON AGOSTINI of The Modbee Bee, “Without Cuba, it’s not the World Baseball Classic.”

From Ronald Sanders of Jamaica Observer, “No homer for ban on Castro’s team”.

“Angelos may have summed up the views of many Americans who feel that it would have been exciting to see the competitive Cuban baseball team in action against other nations including their own, and that this ban simply serves no purpose other than to satisfy the wishes of a small but politically powerful group of Cuban exiles in the US.”

From Rep. Jeff. Flake, R-Ariz: “Our baseball team is better than their baseball team,” Flake said.

“What sense does it make for the U.S to punish Cuba for denying freedom to its citizens by ourselves denying Cuban citizens the freedom to travel to our country?” Flake asked in a news release.

“We ought to take every opportunity available to expose Cubans to the freedoms and liberties of our country.”

From LINDA ROBERTSON of Miami Herald, “A decision that alienates all”

“Why would the U.S. government, which professes empathy with the oppressed Cuban people, snub its nose at them? Once again, the U.S. government has made a clumsy, petty decision that only alienates Cubans, baffles the rest of the world and delights Fidel Castro.”

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