By José Alejandro Rodríguez Zas
In the history of Cuban baseball there are many myths, legends and stories that have spread by word of mouth over the years, to the point of becoming true, almost indisputable realities, unless someone comes out and explains the truth. One of these stories is that of the famous “blank checks” that the star Cuban players of the 80s, 90s and early 2000s supposedly received, so that they decided to leave the Cuba team in some international event to join baseball. Major League Baseball professional.
In essence, the player received a signed check but without a fixed amount, a figure that the player had to write and that would be the amount to be received for taking that leap to professionalism. Obviously, anyone with common sense would question the veracity of the matter, but there is no doubt that this myth is very popular in Cuba and taken for granted.
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“I doubt that anyone was given a blank check. After I am here I know that story. That is a lie for everyone, it is that there is no way, “said the first baseman from Spiritus for the Houston Astros.
“We believe these things when we are in Cuba because we do not know how things work here. But now that we know I tell you that no one was given a blank check, “added the Los Angeles Angels star closer.
However, there are other players who have stories to tell about large sums of money offered by agents to sign a professional, such as the former Industriales player, Alexei Hernández, who narrated in “The Complete Swing Show” an event that involves to Omar Linares and an alleged contract between the New York Yankees and INDER for a value of 200 million dollars and four years of service, at a rate of about 50 million per year.
“Someone went to Cuba, because Fidel Castro was a personal friend of the owner of the Yankees as well as the owner of the Atlanta Braves. They spoke with that man to see if he wanted to do it and he said no, “Alexei told the program. “Then they told Omar Linares to only play home club games with the Blue Jays, so he wouldn’t have to come to the United States because of the blocking problem and he didn’t want to,” he added.
The former blue player made the clarification that this story had not been told by Omar Linares himself, but that his source was “a person who works directly with the Yankees organization, a close friend of the franchise owners.”
However, the popularity of Full swing and of each one of its spaces is such that each word that is said finds ears almost in every corner of the planet, or at least among the followers of Cuban sport, causing almost immediate reactions.
In this case, Alexei’s words quickly reached Omar Linares himself, who responded to what the former industrialist player said during the ceremony of signing contracts of four young Cuban prospects with the Chunichi Dragons of the Japanese Professional Baseball League, whose franchise Omar is a coach, held this Friday morning, November 12, at the Latin American Stadium in Havana.
As reported by the journalist Raúl Rodríguez on his Facebook profile, “moved by the controversy and opinions of all kinds that certain statements about the millions offered to Omar Linares have generated in the networks,” the 54-year-old player from Pinar del Río himself, “He was blunt in his answer.”
“In those days of the late 1980s and early 1990s, the contracts weren’t that high. The highest paid earned 3 or 4 million per year. How can anyone think that they offered me 200 million? “Linares told the aforementioned journalist.
In his publication, Rodríguez commented that “all, or almost all the Major League clubs, were interested in hiring him (Omar)”, but the player himself explained to him at the meeting this Friday “that the blank check is a myth, because a blank check always has its maximum figure, it is not that you can put the figures you want ».
In this way, once again, this myth of Cuban baseball of “blank checks” is disproved and, at least, in the voice of Omar Linares himself, there was not a 200 million offer for his signature for professionalism either. I did not want to take away the illusion, but it seems that those, like those of now, are more flesh and blood than we thought.
And you, dear reader, what do you think about it? Leave your comments below, you know where.
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OMAR LINARES HIMSELF spoke at last about the famous blank check