Cuba and Baseball


#1

Last week the leaders of both the United States and Cuba signaled a thawing of relations between their respective nations.

It might be beneficial to study what the consequences of that might be on the game of baseball here in the US.

FYI

Currently over half of the players under contract to MLB and MiLB are Latin American or otherwise foreign to the U.S.

The percentage of African American players has been dropping since the early 1980s.

Despite Cuba’s poverty…this small Latin nation is exploding with baseball talent representing low hanging fruit ripe for the picking by MLB owners.

MLB has been tapping foreign talent because it is a cheap labor force without the regulations US players fall under in our Player Draft system.

Is it possible at some point all players in the game will be foreign born?
Are the odds stacked against our high school and college athletes?
Is all the investment of time and money really worth it?
I’m just wondering.


#2

The odds are stacked against anyone trying to make MLB.

It will never be totally foreign born players, but, when other places take the most talented players into schools were their main focus is baseball above all else, they will develop more players per capita.

It wasn’t all that long ago an 86 MPH FB wold get a lefty drafted.


#3

Every point and counterpoint to a topic has its own persuasion(s), either based on bias, personal experiences, and so on. In any case, my observations on the subject that Dino brought up is no different and I’ll be the first to admit my own observations are limited in scope, based on points in time particular to me, no one else.

American baseball, professionally anyway, is thriving because of its own agenda – it’s a business, plain and simple. Success is secured by two things – the owners of MLB, own everything. They own the banks, the bank’s bank, the Federal Reserve, the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, the Commerce Department and so on. When you get up every morning, it’s because you have something that can give thanks to these people.
-second, MLB’s promotion’s department has done a remarkable job in selling the idea of dreams and all that encompasses. Face it, profitability is the key to survival in any endeavor, and failing that mindset has anyone on the outside looking in through a metal mesh gate, secured by a sheriff’s department in conjunction with chapter 11. I know, I’ve looked through a couple of those gates in my career.

Ok, so what’s with pro ball and non-American, homegrown talent. Simple – it’s nothing personal, just business. Pro ball is no different then the clothes on your back. Are they American made? No. The shoes on your feet, are they American made? No. How about all those Christmas gifts you just bought, or about to receive, American made? No.

So, before looking elsewhere for where things should or shouldn’t be, look no further than your own mirror, each and every morning.

Bottom line here is simply this, you think of yourself before you think of anything else, when in comes to keeping what you got. So goes every endeavor in life. Heck, even Burger King has decided to move its corporate operations elsewhere in order to make more money.

Just an observation about American amateur baseball – it’s a JOKE. The pay-n-play, insurance, umpire boards and their customer base athletic director relationships, the lack of maintenance on public ball fields, the hype of youth baseball training facilities and their owners, the ego oriented ranks of amateur baseball coaching at all levels especially high school and college, and I’m sure other things that I could mention, but won’t.

I’ve been asked “What can I do to get on a college roster?” I say, “get into college first on academics.”
[color=red]
*[/color]I’ve been asked “What can I do to get into pro ball.? I say, “Forget about anything and everything that doesn’t pertain to baseball. Train and concentrate 24/7 with a good trainer, a pitching coach who understands the business, first, the playing aspects second. Get ready to let go of friends, family, anything that doesn’t focus your attention to playing and perfecting your game. After all, you’re training to be a professional, just like a CPA, attorney, and so on. Think like a professional.

  • Why so strict on the what-to-do? Think about this for a moment- these youngsters that are coming from Latin American in particular, this is all they do because this is all they have, for the most part.


A final thought on going with a training facility.

Here’s a suggestion about using training facilities and those people and places that offer you … the best chance to get into a college program and/or pro ball. Understand that these people are going to monitor you constantly and based on what training you undergo, if you don’t get onto a college club, if you don’t get some sort of scholarship, if you don’t get drafted in ANY round and you must accept, THEN THE FACILITY AND ITS TRAINERS WILL REFUND 50% OF YOUR MONEY. Now you and I know this will never happen – but ask anyway and then sit back and listen about the realities of getting into college ball, even less encouraging is pro ball.


#4

Well stated Coach B.

It is tough to be as hungry as a kid who is literally starving half the time when you have to be reminded to put down the video game controller to get a ride in the SUV to practice at the air conditioned facility.
Coach B said:
“Just an observation about American amateur baseball – it’s a JOKE. The pay-n-play, insurance, umpire boards and their customer base athletic director relationships, the lack of maintenance on public ball fields, the hype of youth baseball training facilities and their owners, the ego oriented ranks of amateur baseball coaching at all levels especially high school and college”

Amen.
Keep preaching it.


#5

Back in the late 80’s, I was approached to join an investment group that wanted to scout and train prospects for eventually signing with MLB. The deal was, a percentage of the signing bonus was attached to the group that invested in the man’s training.

I spent a number of years, off and on, with this group. In fact, the money was pretty good and things went along without much fanfare.

Then in the mid 90’s things started to get sparse. Ethnic changes in poplulation favored other sports and as such so did the money trail. Those that were referred to me and others on the fielding side of things were less and less gifted, slower to grasp things, and with little of the small things like sharp egos, self determination, and shear guts. We didn’t focus on college ball – why? No money in it.

There were major drawbacks to the endevor as time went on. Less and less attention was given to the quality of the amateur game overall. So, no matter how intense ones training and coaching was privately, those skills could not be used to the extent necessary to groom and progress a man (18 -25) on the playing field. Things got progressively worse as time went on. I actually witnessed one coach who made it perfectly plain to all within earshot that any player that came to his field with private coaching might as well leave. That was his club and he was in charge, period.

I traveled from the Ohio Valley, Upper State New York, all over the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Easter Connectuit, and as far south as Maryland and Delaware. I found little if any quality in prospects that could, or would, compete on the field with counterparts from the Boroughs of New York and similar inner cities – if only given the chance with the opportunity. I saw some of the toughest, hard core young men that baseball use to draw on in the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s. I wanted to bring these people to the attention of investors, but no interest was shown. As time went on, the investment group went their separate ways, life goes on.

Judging baseball flesh is an art, a form of selection that has less to do with the crystal ball of stats, what’s currently on the horizon used as a benchmark, and more to do with understanding human nature and the demands on the human body – sort of.

These young men from Latin America are the real deal. I only wish I had more good years in me to bring one of them along – just one. I’d give my **** *** just to bullpen a man and tell him … “ ok scooter … you’re up.”