"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).