By José Alejandro Rodríguez Zas
A few days ago, we published a piece about the information regarding the disqualification of the Yaguajay team from the Second Little League National Championship due to a failure to follow the rules of the championship, and their being excluded from the play offs for the title of the Eastern Region. Their rival would have been defending champion Bayamo.
This weekend, there was an open letter by the Sancti Spíritus press, addressed to Cuban baseball authorities, expressing their total disagreement with the way things unfolded and their final outcome. The letter was published in the Facebook profile of Luis Francisco Jacomino Suárez, a journalist of the local radio station “La Voz de Yaguajay” (The Voice of Yaguajay).
From the very first moment news about the event broke, social media heated up and fans of Cuban baseball have expressed their opinions nonstop. At the same time, there has been criticism towards Camagüey manager Luis Ulacia, one of the greatest players in Cuban baseball, and part of the team management and officials in the province.
“The blowouts in Camagüey were enough for the worst displays to take place, with even (baseball great?) Luis Ulacia having a leading role. The videos on social media made by the parents of the Yaguajay kids in attendance, show the harassment of the audience, and let’s be clear: they were children,” wrote Jacomino in his Open Letter.
“By the way, in one of the videos, Ulacia himself admitted that Camagüey did not hold a provincial championship, and it seems they made up a team last minute,” he added.
Going through social media, we can find several videos showing Ulacia arguing with some people. Such videos have captions that make serious accusations about his wrong behavior, but truth to tell, we can’t hear the nature or the main topic of the exchange very well.
One of those videos, which was uploaded on the profile of Luby Valenzuela with the following text: “Ladies and gentlemen, look at this sports glory, Luis Ulacia, all drunk, intimidating parents and professors after the game was over, and the National Commission says they don’t know anything about it. This is unethical, people.”
About the game in particular, Sancti Spíritus journalist Diusmila Rojas Monteagudo, who works for the aforementioned radio station, also summed up the events that took place during the series between Yaguajay and Camagüey, in which the visitors lost the first game but went on to win 12-7 and 10-0.
“The stage of the game, held in Camagüey, turned into a favela where, without taking into account the education our children need to be given, we saw offenses, sharp weapons and intimidation, in front of well-known host baseball figures and officials, who were also involved in the matter,” said the journalist.
In another Facebook post by Luby Valenzuela herself, we can read:
“It is hard to believe that there are still people with no values or ethics or principles today, but the most disappointing thing is that there are grownups who are capable of boycotting and diminishing the hard work of children, coaches and relatives, who have made huge sacrifices to get where they got (…) Are they so bothered to see our children with the talent and courage to defend and achieve victory? Why is it so hard to admit that they lost to the children of a small town that is not the provincial capital?”
“What we have achieved with sacrifice, demand and discipline, things that the team of Camagüey lacked when they threatened to even hit and use weapons against the umpires, the same they lacked when the parents of those children surrounded and intimidated our children, the very same missing in OLYMPIC CHAMPION Luis Ulacia when he came out to the field willing to fight, completely drunk. What they are doing is a complete INJUSTICE, after the fraud they–including the Camagüey provincial commissioner–committed during the entire game. Those behind it are a complete disgust.”
Once again, it is very hard to issue criteria from a distance. According to the testimony by parents of the Yaguajay players, consulted by myself for Swing Completo, they all agree that the events that took place in Camagüey took place exactly as we are saying here. They all express the “bad ambiance” lived in Camagüey, they accuse Luis Ulacia of horrible behavior during the playoffs, and also accuse local baseball authorities, and find the decision made by the organizers of the tournament to be unfair.
As a matter of fact, the parents of the Yaguajay team players sent a complaint to the authorities, finding as unfair the decision of disqualifying their team for the Little League national tournament, but it has found no response up to this moment.