Friday, November 25, 2005

Castro criticizes players who leave Cuba

Posted on Thu, Nov. 24, 2005

Castro criticizes players who leave Cuba

Associated Press

HAVANA - President Fidel Castro criticized Cuban baseball players who have left the country for multimillion-dollar contracts in the major leagues, saying the island always finds better players to replace them.
During a five-hour appearance on state television Wednesday, Castro remarked on those players "who cannot resist the millions of the major leagues" and acknowledged that baseball "is the sport in which we have been beaten the most" when it comes to defections.
Still, the 79-year-old leader insisted Cuban baseball has always survived the losses.
"When one leaves, another 10 better players emerge," he said.
Among those who have left are pitchers Orlando Hernandez and Jose Contreras, who contributed to the recent World Series victory by the Chicago White Sox.
Castro praised Cuban athletes in general during the far-ranging appearance that dealt mostly with new increases in electrical rates and raises for skilled government workers. He singled out Cuba's boxing team, which won four gold medals in the sport's world championships that ended in China on Sunday.
"Who can measure up to our boxers and our athletes?" Castro asked.
Castro, a big baseball fan who closely follows the national team, made no direct reference to the World Baseball Classic. The tournament is being organized by the major leagues for next March. Cuban authorities have not said if the country will participate.

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