By Swing Completo / email@example.com
The suspense continues to grow and time moves on and on without a decision being made about the first President of the Cuban Baseball Federation who will not be called Higinio Velez Carrion.
Since the death of the latter in May, the island’s baseball has gone without an official head in office that, although many underestimate, has a real role in many issues.
Of course, when we talk about the position being vacant we are referring to official status, as it is not a secret for anyone that Ernesto del Risco and Yovani Aragón have assumed part of the responsibilities.
The passage of the months without the government having informed the new federative the only thing that shows is that despite all the unpopularity of Vélez together with the “fines” that unquestionably did touch him, there was no real interest in removing the Santiago from post. Otherwise and even with all the alleged information that was leaked a while ago, the one who was supposed to replace him in life would have been mentioned.
We do not think that the pandemic is the main cause of this delay as it is an appointment for which a good part of the mechanism, at least in the initial part, can be carried out totally virtual.
The main reason has been the uncertainty in the decision makers. There are several names that have been used among fans, players and especially the managers who propose and dispose, but in all cases there are disadvantages that complicate the analysis and the final decision.
It was said that after the Pre-Olympic first, then that at the end of the summer event in Tokyo, and then the U23 World CupUntil a new National Commissioner was appointed, Higinio’s position still does not have a new tenant.
And while that day arrives, Swing Completo has wanted to delve into the candidates that have been handled internally more than in the popular, because if we include the latter, too many names would jump among which also appear figures such as Jorge Fuentes or Víctor Mesa, who for the simple fact of residing outside of Cuba are not taken into account for the presidency.
Therefore, this is an analysis with the pros and cons of those who are on the valuation table or that have at least passed through the minds of those who are part of this complex mechanism that only confirms that in effect, the FCB is not independent of the government nor is it fully governed by the World Confederation of discipline. The fact that his presidency and part of his main decisions did not come from Laussana, Switzerland, but from some high-level Cuban office is the best proof that this was one of the points that was lied about when the agreement with MLB was reached.
But let us return to the objective of this series of works or X-rays of the candidates that we started with an extremely controversial figure personally, although formidable as a player and with good sports results as a coach. It is about Germán Mesa Fresneda, of whom much has been said at the levels related to this topic.
We clarify that these writings are not signed because they are a unification of opinions of the members of our staff, so it is not the criteria of a particular person, but the analysis between all based on totally objective realities. Nor are we demonizing or deifying anyone in particular, we only show facts and trends to try to get as close to reality as possible and for you to say with the cards on the table, what should happen in the future regarding this novel suspension of the President of the FCB.
So let’s go with our first X-ray:
Germán Mesa: Listed by a high percentage of specialists and fans as the best shortstop in the National Series. He achieved multiple national and international collective titles between 1987 and 2002 (a stage that he played at the highest level in Cuba), and in addition to his spectacular defense in shortstop, he was a very timely hitter and a player in general with good integrity and a fantastic mind. As a manager he was a national champion in 2010 and excelled enormously in Nicaragua. He is one of the great icons that Industriales and Cuban baseball in general have had, which also emerged due to a controversial suspension that removed him from baseball for two years for an alleged attempt to leave the country.
For as President: He is very intelligent and has tools like few former players to face this type of position that goes off the field. He has very good relations outside of Cuba with important entities and people in good and medium-level leagues, in addition to having a very high national and international sports prestige and due to his intellectual level, he may even be able to handle English better for the fundamentals much better than most likely candidates for the position.
In interviews he has offered, he has shown his knowledge of how the professional baseball system works, including the Major Leagues, along with his successful experience as a coach and manager outside the Island. In this sense, it could also be said that he is one of those who he is better prepared to improve many of the cognitive deficiencies of his predecessor, and thus contribute to a greater hiring, better fulfilling the issue of speed and organization and obtaining even better salaries. But above all for INDER and the government, he is someone trustworthy because of his political convictions combined with his skills and knowledge.
Against as President: A fairly complex character that has brought him many encounters and can be his great handicap as President. He has terrible relationships with multiple star figures, especially from Havana. Since his time as a manager, his unpopularity has grown, due to situations with several Industriales players along with statements in which more than his ego he has had attitudes not very progressive politically speaking, although in other aspects he has been positive and even had excellent treatment to the directing emigrated players out of Cuba.
It has also been marked by the controversy surrounding what happened with Orlando “Duque” Hernández and Juan Ignacio Hernández, both of whom were accused of betraying them in their supposed migratory intention in 1996. Germán is seen from the outside as a too official and communist person , and such a situation could jeopardize any unifying process in the future. Everything would depend on his behavior in office to gradually erase that image of intransigence, self-sufficiency and extremism.
The weight of the scale: Despite the fact that perhaps in a poll many fans, players and even journalists would exclude Germán from the candidacy due to his complicated nature and his political image for an important group of Cuban emigrants and even non-emigrants, at the governmental level the political respect and The professional he has won give him great strength to the point of placing him among the names with the most possibilities for the presidency.
If it were for the popular part, it would even be out of a hypothetical top ten of candidates, but here it is not the people who select but a select group of people for whom it is one of the most advantaged. And that in essence is what we analyze here, the real and objective probabilities by the way the selection system works.
What does he say ?: Publicly and officially he has not spoken on the subject, although sources close to Cuban sports have said that his attitude has been very positive in this regard. Little else is known about his disposition, but his loyalty to the system would possibly make him refuse a decision taken from higher authorities if it is accompanied by “the need for baseball and the country that assumes that position.”
Germán President: A real box of surprises, although for a sector it would hardly make a difference with respect to Higinio. Although no handpicked will go against the guidelines of the highest level, the antecedents indicate that Germán will be a faithful follower of what comes from above. However, your prestige, knowledge and intelligence could help you to better agree on certain rules and decisions if you propose to do so.
But there is the point, that there is a bad precedent from when he was a manager. Many athletes and even members of the management body say that he did little in necessary extra-sporting issues, which with his name he could have improved or solved. And other examples later in which he fully complied with the superior indications when logic and life showed that the path could be another. Today, in a Cuba that is perhaps more prejudiced and politicized, few think that it goes beyond the script they are given. He will improve when negotiating contracts by knowing more than his predecessor and with more responsibility, but his defects will possibly keep him away from many and create new enmities as with Vélez.
The version of Germán Mesa as a baseball player was extraordinary, but that of a coach in Cuba greatly damaged his image and as an official can be even more damaging to himself. He will have to change his methodology a lot and not allow himself to be dominated by his pride, apart from being an official whose actions earn him the respect of those above and below, which in today’s Cuba is almost impossible.
Perhaps it surprises and becomes the ideal option that Cuban baseball needs, but the forecast indicates that his undisputed greatness as a player was too distant in his managerial stage and may be more distant the day that his term as President of the Cuban Baseball Federation in case of being elected. What do you think of all that has been said?