Children & Baseball in Cuba Part II • Latino Sports

Cuban Baseball

Children & Baseball in Cuba Part II

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In Cuba organized baseball starts as early as seven. Any parent can enroll their child in a league and pay nothing. The categories are sub seven years; sub ten; sub fourteen and sub eighteen. And each level is the same in all of Cuba’s provinces. They all have organized games for each level with statistics that lead to championships for each.

The championshiop team from each province then go on to play for a national island wide competition. By the age of eleven if a child is seen to really stand out they can enroll in a special baseball focused academy in each province called, Escuela de Iniciación Deportiva (Initial Sports School) that will give them the additional training and focus that goes beyond the local level. However, the child must maintain grades in the educational level as well. Those kids are then developed, something like a farm team for the baseball team of that province. They continue to move on to a different academy at each level until they reach the majors, in this case the province professional team. They can only play for their province, unless they move.

Fielding instructor going through a workout for the sub 18 Industriales youth team. The catcher is a 15 yr. old in the body of a developed 20 yr. old. (Photp Latino Sports)

Fielding instructor going through a workout for the sub 18 Industriales youth team. The catcher is a 15 yr. old in the body of a developed 20 yr. old. (Photo: Latino Sports)

Baseball thrives in Cuba because the entire sports system focuses on children, not just in baseball, but also in every sport. I saw soccer fields, basketball fields, swimming pool, boxing, and track and field. You name a sport, or a cultural activity like dancing, or the arts and there is a place for any Cuban to enroll their children to learn and develop with professional instructions and it’s free of charge.

If Cuba can do this with limited resources and parks that need repair, imagine what we could do in our communities at home?

From what I saw from the youngest 6 year old to 15 year olds with cannon’s for an arm shooting strait lasers to home plate, or a 15 year old lefty pitcher with a defined curve ball and pitching over 90 mph, Cuba has a stokpile of players. I am certain that if MLB were to open up to all Cuban players to legally play in the U.S. without defecting, baseball in America will be inundated with Cuban players.

Yesterday the first delegation of diplomats began to arrive here in Havana for the high level talks between our two countries on the normalization of relations. I surely hope that these talks go well and that both our countries can quickly normalize relations so that we can learn from each other. I would love to see us learn more about how to treat our children and youth in America as a privilege sector and offer them what this country with limited resources has for their youth.

This 7 year old is already swinging like a pro. (Photo Latino Sports)

This 7 year old is already swinging like a pro. (Photo Latino Sports)

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About Julio Pabón

Julio is President and Founder of Latino Sports LLC., the parent company of Latinosports.com. Julio is a product of the South Bronx where he still lives and runs his businesses. Julio has written and has been interviewed for numerous publication and networks on sports & political issues. He has been an activist promoting social justice and respect for all communities. He is a recognized motivational speaker, was an adjunct professor of American History and presently volunteer's as a lecturer in local South Bronx High Schools. His primary goal is to make Latinosports.com a multi-facet sports portal that will engender social and economic empowerment to the Latino community.