VegasInsider.com
VI Mobile Scores and Betting OddsVI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds Be Social
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
Boxing/MMA
Fantasy Sports
More
Betting Tools

 
MLB makes a comeback on Cuban TV

HAVANA (AP) - Cubans got to watch something on their television screens this week that this baseball-crazed island hasn't seen in more than half a century: a Major League Baseball game broadcast in its entirety on the open airwaves.

Advertisement
But the early reviews were not overly enthusiastic. The game turned out to be a nearly 2-month-old matchup between two teams that boast none of the defected Cuban stars who islanders are most eager to follow.

Around 9:30 Sunday night, ``Baseball International'' cut to a full replay of the May 2 game between the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves, which ended in a 3-1 Nationals' win.

It was unlike a normal U.S. broadcast, stripped of commercials and lasting just an hour and a half or so. Cuban commentators provided color and play-by-play over the original English, which could be heard faintly in the background.

Baseball is just as much of a national pastime in Cuba as it is in the United States, but even die-hard fans mostly shrugged after watching.

``It's interesting to see how they play, but I can't say it thrilled me all that much because I don't know any of the players,'' said Diego Sierra, 67. ``I would really like to see the Cubans, see how they are developing in that league, really see how well they are doing.''

He was talking about homegrown talent like outfielder Yasiel Puig, who has posted a gaudy .436 batting average this year in 26 games played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, or fireballer Aroldis Chapman, a closer who's on pace for 40 saves with the Reds this year and who set a record in 2010 by throwing a ball 105 mph.

Defectors' names all but disappear from the official press once they leave Cuba, the trade-off for contracts that make them instant millionaires. Islanders rely on word of mouth, news from relatives abroad and videos passed around on pen drives and DVDs to keep up with their exploits.

``I watched this game for about 45 minutes and didn't think much of it,'' said Margarita Roman, a 46-year-old devotee of Havana's powerhouse team, Industriales. ``Besides, there weren't any Cubans. That's what interests us.''

``But things are changing so I hope the next step is to show a game with our compatriots, and if it can be live, all the better,'' she added.

Cuban television sometimes carries MLB highlights and last month showed several games of the NBA finals between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs, days after they were played. Local cable TV, generally limited to foreigners, tourist hotels and restaurants, also has programming from the ESPN and FOX sports channels.

But Sunday's Nationals-Braves matchup is the first time since 1961 that a full MLB game has been seen on the open airwaves, which is what most Cubans have access to.

It was not clear if Cuba got permission from Major League Baseball to broadcast the game. The Communist-run island routinely airs U.S. television content including sitcoms such as ``Seinfeld'' and crime dramas such as ``CSI,'' apparently without compensating American networks.

Washington and Havana have not had full diplomatic relations for over five decades, and most commerce between the two countries is outlawed by the U.S. economic and financial embargo against Cuba.

``Baseball International'' launched about four months ago and has shown professional play from leagues in South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Mexico and other Latin American nations.

Professional sports were deemed inconsistent with Marxist ideals and banned in Cuba two years after Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution. But recently island athletics have been undergoing something of an opening.

Several Cuban ballplayers have been cleared to play professionally in Mexico in recent weeks. Meanwhile defectors like pitcher Jose Contreras and Golden Glove winning shortstop Rey Ordonez visited the island in recent months, where they were met regularly by legions of fans.

A team of Cubans is set to play exhibition games in Miami and Tampa later this month, and the national squad is returning to the Caribbean Series after a 53-year absence.

---

Anne-Marie Garcia on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AnneMarie279

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

  
HEADLINES
Rogers: Friday's Diamond Notes
Nelson: NL Lefty vs. Righty Splits
Nelson: AL Lefty vs. Righty Splits
Angels rally past Yankees, 10-5
Cubs drill Marlins, 'over' cashes
Indians double up Orioles, 6-3
Astros outlast A's for road sweep
Goldschmidt, D-backs hammer Rockies
Knebel sharp, Brewers drop Pirates
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
MLB Pro Baseball Handicapper Sports Picks Records
MLB Hot Streaks
7-0 Guaranteed Run, 11-5 Y'day
6-2 +474 LN, 7-1 +645 G-Plays
19-9 +983 Run, 12-5 L17 G-Plays
5-0, +551 Record L5 G-Plays
4-1 +309 G-Plays, 6-3 +306 Picks
3-1 LN, 4-1 G-Plays, 5-0 Totals
+1,417 MLB Net Profits TY
3-0 L3, 6-2 +395 L8 Guarantees
7-4, +440 Record L2 Days
7-3 L10 MLB Over/Unders
5-2 L7 Guaranteed Plays
10-3 L13 Picks, 22-11 L33 Totals
MLB Pro Baseball Expert Sports Picks
2017 MLB SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Gary Bart + 1413
Stephen Nover + 1146
Antony Dinero + 878
Underdog Leaders
Handicapper Money
Chip Chirimbes + 1669
Vince Akins + 1334
Stephen Nover + 803
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
NeiltheGreek + 1249
Kyle Hunter + 811
Alex Smart + 639
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kevin Rogers + 803
Antony Dinero + 606
ASA + 439
Favorite Leaders
Handicapper Money
John Fisher + 444
Gary Bart + 433
Scott Rickenbach + 300
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Dave Cokin + 1330
Antony Dinero + 994
John Fisher + 663
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership