By José Alejandro Rodríguez Zas
Beyond the sporting result in itself, which was, by the way, below their possibilities, the most important news of Team Cuba that recently participated in the 23U World Championship held in Aguascalientes, Mexico, was related to two young Cuban baseball players who escaped from the delegation and were later returned to the hotel by the Mexican authorities.
The players in question are Alfredo Fadraga (catcher) and Yosvany Ávalos (pitcher), who managed to leave the Ramada Hotel where the Cuban baseball team was staying, but were found walking through the streets of Aguascalientes and were handed over to the delegation’s officials and returned to Cuba.
However, this Tuesday, several sources (among them Francys Romero and Pelota Cubana) have reported that, after a meeting held this Tuesday at José Ramón Cepero Stadium in Ciego de Ávila, the baseball authorities on the island decided to suspend Fadraga and Ávalos FOR LIFE from Cuban baseball.
Evidently, Cuba’s top sports leaders have wanted to reprimand the action carried out by both of them in Mexico and have decided to banish them completely from their sporting life on the island.
He also drove in 79 runs and scored 67, with a slashing for a .347/.467/.814 (OBP/SLG/OPS) line.
In his last series, the 61st edition, the backstop was runner-up in home runs with 21 (the same amount he accumulated in his first four contests), sixth in runs batted in with 58 and fifth in SLG with .645. In addition, he batted for a .315 average.
However, in the 61st Series, the right-hander improved his numbers, being a key player in the Tigers’ inclusion in the postseason. He pitched 26 games as a reliever, with a 6-3 record and 10 saves, a 2.52 ERA, a 1.40 WHIP and 29 strikeouts in 39.1 innings worked. His opponents’ batting average was .252.
News have also circulated about Javier Carabeo and Yulián Quintana, both of whom have been suspended for two years for trying to defect in the same tournament in Mexico, a punishment that normally prompts players to try to find a way to leave the country for good. In the case of Fadraga and Ávalos, banned for life, the Cuban baseball powers-that-be leave them no other choice.
It is evident that their stance is to bring down the gavel and prove they will not hesitate to hand outrageous suspensions to players for trying to leave the country. They are also sending signals to the Association of Cuban Professional Baseball Players (ACPBP) and all Cuban major leaguers on what the position will be towards “defectors” when the time to call people for the World Baseball Classic comes. That is, if any of Cuba’s big leaguers were to agree to play.