A few days ago Raidel Martínez reached 100 saves in the Nippon League and the Chunichi Dragons presented him with a commemorative cake for his feat that read, “”Congratulations 100 saves!! Exile, no, absolutely.”
This was obviously an underhanded shot at recent defector Yariel Rodríguez and on a more serious note a thumbing of the nose at Cuban exiles around the world. To start off any hierarchy of a baseball organization that would use this kind of celebration to send that kind of a message has sunk to the depths of unprofessional behavior that are unreachable by any standards.
As a baseball player Raidel Martínez deserved to be celebrated and not compromised by such a message. The Dragons’ hierarchy doing such a thing is not only tone deaf, but insensitive to the highest degree. In fact by doing such a thing Chunichi conducted itself like the regime in Havana and became perpetrators of a behavior not only condescending to a long suffering community, but also very unbecoming of a professional baseball organization.
I rarely delve into the political arena with my writing, but as a long standing member of the exile community I see this as the highest form of disrespect to the memory of hundreds of thousands of people who have lost their lives fleeing a tyrannous and despotic regime 90 miles off our coast. As a person who has lost family to the Castro regime I could not stay quiet on this subject and live with myself at the end of the day if I did not respond to this act.
By doing this the Dragons have laid their cards flatly on the table and in so many words told us that they oppose liberty and a person’s right to determine their own destiny. By taking the off-colored shot at Yariel Rodríguez and the exile community not only did they ruin a celebration for a star pitcher who deserved to be honored in a better way, but also made a mockery of themselves as a team.
This irresponsible act by Chunichi’s management not only sets a dangerous precedent for ball clubs in the future, but is also a very deplorable act. Raidel Martínez deserved better for his amazing feat!!!