The new history of Cuban baseball began to be written on January 14th, 1962, the exact date of the beginning of the national series, which little by little became part of the lives of the demanding and experienced fans of the Cuban audience.
Fidel Castro, who was then Prime Minister of the Revolutionary Government, referred to the baseball players who took part in the first national series as "common people, many humble boys who have been given the chance to play baseball, because they were humble, but they were exploited under the capitalist system (.), they were bought, they were sold (.). Baseball had also become a capitalist enterprise and now it has become a real sport".
Very quick, the games of the professional winter league were just a memory. This elitist league completely took place in the Gran Estadio del Cerro (today's Latinoamericano Stadium) with the participation of four teams: Marianao, Cienfuegos, Almendares, and Habana. Their rosters were conformed with some Triple A level players and even some players from the so-called major leagues.
Other teams began to appear. That was the case of Orientales, Centrales, Occidentales, and others named after the six existing provinces at the time: Pinar del Río, La Habana, Matanzas, Las Villas, Camagüey, and Oriente. Later in time, other emblematic teams of today's Cuban baseball began to be formed. Some of them are Industriales, Santiago de Cuba, and Villa Clara.
The Cuban national team is considered among the best of the planet, even after the agreement of the International Federation of Amateur Baseball (IBAF) to allow the access of professional players to all the competitions of the Olympic cycle as well as to world championships and intercontinental cups.
Since baseball was allowed in the program of Olympic games, Cuba has won the titles in two of them: Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996. However, in Sydney 2000, Cuba fell to the second position, while the United States' team, managed by former major league player Tom La Sorda, won the Olympic title.
During the summer of 2004 the Athens Olympics will take place. Eight teams will quest for the Olympic title. However, two endless rivals: Cuba and the United States, are the natural favorites. The Cubans will be decided to win back their crown. The Americans, counting on the extra strength supplied by some of their professional baseball players, will also fight for victory. During the baseball season from October to May it is relatively easy to a national league game.
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