By Yasel Porto
When Italy had become a destination chosen by many players who wanted to maintain their Cuban residence and many of them continue their participation in the National Series, the situation became considerably complicated as of this year 2022.
This is not a matter of visas or restrictions by the Cuban authorities, but of the Italian league itself at its two fundamental levels.
The issue is that unlike what happened until last season, at least in the new version of Italy’s rented ball there will be only one foreigner per club, an issue that greatly limits the participation of all those who do not have the nationality of that European country.
Two fundamental factors were discussed in order to make this decision. First, to further empower local players who in recent times had lost prominence due to the increasingly prominent presence of foreigners, especially Latinos.
Another factor has been the pandemic, although in 2021 the situation was also delicate and there was not as much limitation as the one that will now be implemented.
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Cuban players have seen their impact grow in Italy. Pitchers and batters have achieved success that has even led them to achieve important records and leadership in a country whose The main league has eight clubs and has been professional since 2007. Its current champion is the very strong San Marino team.
In conversation with one of the most outstanding figures on offense last year, Wilfredo Aroche, from the capital, he does not really know if this measure will last long, but at least for this season it will not change.
For the new edition of the most powerful baseball league in the old continent, the Cubans who have been confirmed to take part so far are the industrialists Jorge Luis Barcelán (hired by the FCB). and the already independent pitcher Eddy Abel García.
In the case of Cuban players over thirty years old who still live on the island, reality is not very favorable considering that the leagues available with an acceptable to good salary are very few. In Europe, the other that is close to Italy in salary is the Netherlands, but for some reason it has not yet been explored by the Cubans.
Asia is much more difficult, because Japan and South Korea do not look for American players of a certain age who have not been in the Major Leagues, while Taiwan has a series of limitations for those who live in Cuba due to the lack of relations with the Cuban government.
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Australia is an option rejected by many due to the lack of contacts and geographical distance, while the American environment is becoming more exclusive and competitive. In Panama, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and the Pacific Arc League of Mexico there are few clubs and the demand is too high, the season is short and the contracts are monthly.
In the case of the Summer League of Mexico and other circuits in that country with less rank, they are seen right now as the most available horizon for those who intend to maintain their permanent residence in Cuba.
All the other countries that practice baseball and have rented or semi-professional leagues (France, Spain, Germany, the Czech Republic, the Philippines, England, South Africa, Russia) with what is earned there is not enough to survive. In general, the Cubans who play in some of these tournaments have settled in those countries and their main entrance is for another trade totally antagonistic to the sport.
It is the reality of international baseball, with an extremely limited development perspective and with an MLB and a North American professional ball that absorbs most of the quality and income worldwide. But we all know that access there for Cubans has a path that is not only illegal, but extremely hard and complex due to all the consequences that have been and will be.
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