Presentation at SABR 44, Houston, Texas, August 1, 2014
Cuban-born big league headliners, in large part refugees from the largely mysterious “Behind the Sugar Cane Curtain” Cuban League, are now one of the hottest stories – if not the hottest story in today’s Major League baseball. The intriguing “Cubanization” of MLB was heavily underscored by this month’s All-Star Game in Minneapolis that featured five Cuban-born imports for the first time in nearly a half-century. Yoenis Céspedes has underscored the outsized Cuban presence with a pair of highly visible Home Room Derby titles – the first repeat winner since Griffey Jr. at the close of the 1990s. Also this month, Odrisamer Despaigne (only a minor star back in Cuba) came within an eyelash of tossing the first no-hitter in San Diego Padres ball club history and the first ever by a Cuban big leaguer. As we gathered here yesterday morning, the talk of MLB trade deadline activities was an unanticipated blockbuster deal sending Jon Lester from Boston to Oakland for the slugging Yoenis Céspedes. And yesterday afternoon José Abreu continued to tear up the American League with a trio of base knocks that have inched him closer to a major league hitting-streak record for first-year players.
JG: I personally do not like the word "defector." I consider it a pejorative word invented by the hate-spewing Yankee imperialists. A more appropriate word is 'Dollar Chasers.' Cuba, being a poor country, can not afford to pay the huge sums that the money-loving Yankees throw around.