SBD/23/Sports Society

"60 MINUTES" ON JOE CUBAS; LATIN AMERICA'S DIAMOND DIGGERS?

          On "60 Minutes," CBS's Morley Safer looked at baseball
     in Cuba and FL-based agent Joe Cubas who helps players
     escape the country in order to play in the U.S.  Safer:
     "Baseball in Cuba is much, much more than a game -- it's
     something approaching a national faith."  Safer called
     Marlins P Livan Hernandez "the best-known product" of the
     Cuban amateur baseball system.  Cubas, on why more players
     are defecting from Cuba to the U.S. today: "Many reasons,
     but primarily, because they have found someone who can take
     them to the promised land."  Safer: "And that man is?" 
     Cubas: "The last couple of years, it's been me."   Safer
     followed the path of one of Cuba's clients, P Orlando "El
     Duque" Hernandez, who left Cuba and auditioned for multiple
     MLB teams before signing a $6M-plus deal with the Yankees. 
     Cubas' cut is 5% ("60 Minutes," CBS, 3/22).
          THE LATIN STRATEGY: Sunday's N.Y. TIMES featured the
     first of a two-part series -- concluded today -- by Murray
     Chass on MLB's foray into Latin America.  On Sunday's front
     page, Chass wrote teams "are mining the fields of Latin
     America ... in a hunt for teen-age players that is driven by
     two facts: the talent in this country is dwindling, and the
     cost of signing American players is skyrocketing."  Already
     there are twice as many Latin Americans playing in MLB as
     there were 20 years ago and they now represent 16% of all
     major leaguers (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 3/22).

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