By Reynaldo Cruz
The Cuban Baseball Federation announced this Monday at a press conference that an elite league will be held, and that three formats will be proposed to be chosen by popular vote. The tournament, as reported by the journalist Hernández Luján on his Facebook account, will start in the first week of October.
According to what was stated by the journalist, the event may also have the presence of Cuban baseball players who play abroad, “fulfilling certain requirements that will be announced this Friday,” which perhaps gives the possibility that in he play players who play in foreign leagues outside the umbrella of the FCB.
Although more details are still expected, the Cuban representative to the 2023 Caribbean Series should come out of this Winter League, for which the Cuban presence is already confirmed. Taking into account the characteristics of the regional tournament, the champion of such a contest has more of the characteristics of a team in the Caribbean Series than the monarch of the National Series.
Selective tournaments in Cuba began in 1975, although to be honest, the first tournament of this type was the 10 Million Series, held in 1970, and that year had more games than the National Series itself. That moment, more than anything a political propaganda to support the commitment to grind 10 million tons of sugar (something that would not be achieved), served as inspiration to then start the selective five years later.
With different formats, this type of championship concentrated the quality of Cuban baseball, since at least two teams from the National Series merged, although the inaugural one, won by Oriente, had the participation of Industriales (at a clear disadvantage with the other teams). ). It was not until 1978 that the Havana teams began to form part of a single group in these contests.
From then on, there were six teams with the same concept until 1986, which was increased to eight squads, in a format that was quite successful until it was reduced to four in 1993. After the 1995 selection, in which Orientales Higinio Vélez swept practically the entire tournament, the Revolution Cup was created, which would have two editions won by Santiago de Cuba in 1996 and 1997.
After five years of silence, the Super Leagues appeared, with a concept similar to that of the last Selective Series, but these barely lasted four years, because between the economy and the low attendance at the stadiums, they were a real failure.
Now, we are not sure what the formats will be, nor what will be the novelty with the players who play outside of Cuba, but previous experiences make us think that the requirements and bureaucratic obstacles will be so many that many will not even make the attempt. Hopefully those fears are unfounded.