The upcoming 2024 Caribbean Series, a prestigious baseball tournament that brings together the best teams from the Caribbean region, has sparked controversy with the exclusion of Cuba. The decision has raised questions about the reason behind this ruling. The executive secretary of the Caribbean Baseball Confederation, Antonio Herrera, shed light on the matter, attributing the exclusion to various factors, but sources close to the Cuban Baseball Federation offer a different perspective.
According to Herrera, the selection process for the participating teams was based on an exhaustive analysis of multiple variables to ensure the best possible result for the tournament. He affirmed: “This Caribbean Series is of the utmost importance for the Confederation because we are sure that we will have an even better series than the previous one. Cuba had been the ninth country, but when analyzing the variables that would guarantee the greatest efficiency, we believe that the participants we have are the most functionally adequate. We do not rule out seeing Cuba or Colombia, and we could even witness the participation of another country in the future. However, this event cannot host more than seven teams, and we are making a great effort. Cuba is present in the memory and future of the Caribbean World Series.”
When asked about the influence of the World Baseball Classic situation on Cuba’s participation in the 2024 Caribbean Series, Herrera emphasized that certain circumstances were much more important to them than what happened in that tournament. He cited the projection and commercial aspects of baseball, both in Latin America and in the United States, as key economic factors. The secretary emphasized that financial backing from corporations played a crucial role in his decision-making process, shaping his vision for the future of baseball. Addressing the claim that Cuba’s exclusion was not due to political or sporting reasons, but to economic reasons in the main, Herrera refuted that notion, stating: “No, no, this is not just an economic problem. It is a combination of variables. Economic factors are essential, as is the sporting aspect, since good baseball will make this stadium (loanDepot Park) fill up again like it did during the World Baseball Classic. It will also contribute to breaking records. It is not a political challenge.”
However, sources close to the Cuban Baseball Federation tell us that during the World Baseball Classic in Miami, the Secretary of the Caribbean Baseball Confederation, Antonio Herrera, met with Cuban baseball executives and assured them of Cuba’s participation in the 2024 Caribbean Series. This raises questions about what happened afterwards, which led the Confederation to retract its previous guarantees.
— Serie del Caribe (@beisboldecaribe) July 21, 2023
According to internal sources close to the Caribbean Confederation, there was some dissatisfaction among the leaders of this organization due to the participation of Cuba and Colombia in the recent edition of the Baseball Champions League. It has been speculated that the confederation leaders were not happy with the inclusion of these two countries in the tournament. “Coincidentally” neither of these two teams was invited to the Caribbean Series in Miami. This could have an impact in the future. Although there is still no official confirmation in this regard, this situation is raising doubts about the presence of Cuba and Colombia in the regional event next year. We will have to wait for official communications to find out more details about the situation and future decisions.
Although the secretary denied political motives, it is hard to ignore the events that unfolded during the semifinal game between Cuba and the United States in the World Baseball Classic. The meeting witnessed political protests and security problems, which undoubtedly could have influenced the perception of those responsible regarding Cuba’s participation in future tournaments in Miami.
As the debate continues, Cuban baseball fans throughout the Caribbean eagerly await greater clarity from the Caribbean Baseball Confederation and the Miami Marlins regarding the reasons behind Cuba’s exclusion from the 2024 Caribbean Series. The future of the sport in the region depends on open dialogue and transparent decision-making to ensure the best representation and quality of baseball in this beloved tournament.