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"60 MINUTES" ON JOE CUBAS; LATIN AMERICA'S DIAMOND DIGGERS?
Published March 23, 1998
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).