So as I'm sure some of you (I hope?) know, it is currently the World Baseball Classic. While this may not be a big deal in America, it is certainly a big deal in Cuba. Every single hotel, bar, taxi you sit in, it's playing. And Cubans aren't only concerned with Cuba, they check out Puerto Rico against the Netherlands and Japan versus Korea so they can rate the teams and such. Now Cuba has an amazing team, as I think I have mentioned before. Now, they aren't having regular league games because a lot of the players are in the Classic.
Anyway, it's a lot of fun to watch the different games and it reminds me of home. If only there were panuts in the country.
Something odd I have learned about baseball in Cuba: all of the players have other jobs! It's because they don't get paid to play baseball because Cuba sees organized sports in the sense that we have in America to be extremely capitalistic. Which they are, to an extent. Anyway, Fidel doesn't want baseball players to be making 100,000 moneda nacional a year (HAH that's only about 4,000 dollars), he makes them work other jobs. And the players still get paid even when their not a work (like if their traveling or something) but I think it's extremely interesting. Also, all athletes get the samerations as everything else. No Michael Phelps with his 12,000 calories a day in Cuba. They get a bit of meat, some rice, no milk, not a lot of eggs, etc. Some of the girls here are good friends with boys on the national water polo team and they are so starved for protein we made them peanut butter sandwiches one day. The yare so hungry and they practice 6-8 hours a day. Crazzzyyyy.
In 2006, the U.S. didn't want the Cuban baseball team to play in Puerto Rico during the Classic because they don't get paid and the U.S. didn't think that was legit (or they just wanted to be difficult and anti-Cuba, I don't know, it's up for debate). Anyway, P.R. was like "Ummm, no they can play" and the Cuban team ended up donating their earnings to the Hurricane Katrina Relief Effort. (Actually, this too as a slap in the face to the U.S. government because right after Katrina hit, Fidel offered the U.S. 5,000 Cuban doctors to go to New Orleans as part of the relief effort and Bush said no. Even though they were starved for doctors during the time.)
I would like to point out that the love of my imaginary life Derek Jeter is the captain of Team USA.