‘Yankees of Cuba’ to play games in Miami, Tampa

 

jebro@ElNuevoHerald.com

The idea came from a comedian, but it’s far from being a joke.

Some of the best baseball players who have donned the Industriales uniform will visit Miami at the end of July to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the most loved and hated team in Cuba’s National Series, an unavoidable reference that in the history of the island’s baseball many called the “Yankees of Cuba.”

Sponsored by the enterprise Somos Cuba (We Are Cuba), 13 veterans of the blue team will play a friendly game here against Cuban baseball stars living in Miami and another one in Tampa under the program known as cultural exchange, though with a twist new to sports.

“Comedian Otto Ortiz was the person who suggested the possibility of creating this event and we warmed up to it,” said Alejandro Cantón, president of Somos Cuba, who has brought here Cuban artists like the musician Pedro Luis Ferrer and comedian Ulises Toirac, among others. “[Ortiz] hosts a small gathering on the intersection of 23 and 12 in Havana frequented by many of the players, and he came up with the idea of celebrating 50 years of the Industriales in the city where they have so many followers.”

The Industriales were founded in 1962, but it wasn’t until the 1962-63 series — which they won — when it became an important part of the Cuban baseball league.

Dates and sites are yet to be determined, but the following Cuban players are among those confirmed: Armando Capiró, Germán Mesa, Pedro Chávez, Lázaro Vargas, Javier Méndez, Rey Vicente Anglada and Juan Padilla.

The team of Cuban stars that will play the Industriales has some illustrious former “blue” players in its ranks, such as Orlando “El Duque’’ Hernández, Angel Leocadio Díaz, Euclides Rojas and Rey Ordóñez, but will also have other big names of recent fame like Rolando Arrojo, Maels Rodríguez and many more.

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