By Stan Silliman
Baseball in Havana
Fidel Castro is no longer El Presidente’ of Cuba. Those in the know, think this move signals an opportunity for major league baseball to locate in Havana. We’ve heard rumors that a certain NBA owner wants a baseball franchise. We’ve also heard this NBA owner, who happens to be a ballroom dancer, wouldn’t mind locating an expansion team in Cuba. To find out more about this situation, we asked our interviewer, Cuba Gooding, Jr., if he would go to Havana to speak with Fidel Castro and Mark Cuban. Of course, we had to show him some money first but after we showed him, he was quite eager to get the story.
Cuba Gooding, Jr.: Mr. Ex-President and Mr. Cuban, thank you for the opportunity to talk to you about baseball.
Mark Cuban: I like your name. Have a cigar.
CGJ: Mr. Ex-President…
Fidel: Call me Fidel, please.
Mark: You better call him what he wants you to call him, if you know what I mean.
CGJ: Okay, I do. Fidel, we know you banned all professional sports in 1960. Why, now, do you think a Major League Team will work in Havana?
Fidel: Mr. Cuban, here, my good friend has offered that a portion of all ticket sales will go to support hospitals. It will boost tourism. And, since I am retired, I will get to be a coach of our new team.
Mark: Mr. Castro used to sling a wicked curveball. We think he’ll be a very good pitching coach.
Fidel: When I was at Belen College I had some sick stuff, knuckle, fork ball, wide sweeper. You never knew where the ball was going. I had a chance to go pro but I was more interested in getting a law degree. But I still know good players. I can tell if a guy has the goods.
CGJ: That is all well and good but will you be able to pay players major league salaries?
Mark: You leave that to me. We’ll have a good team and most of them will be…Cubans.
Fidel: Our countrymen are the best baseball players in the world. They not soft like capitalists. When we couldn’t afford bats we learned to hit with tree limbs. We had players who hit doubles with their own wooden legs.
CGJ: And when they slid into second they really slid into… uh, oh
Fidel: You doubt me? You don’t believe what I say? I hear you throw like a capitalist… girl.
Mark: Fidel, remember his name is Cuba. He didn’t mean anything.
Fidel: I kidding. Did I tell him to get a raft? No! I’m retired. I kid.
CGJ: So what will you call your team?
Fidel: Havana Barbudos (Bearded Ones)
Mark: I though we decided on El Cigars.
CGJ: How about the Gilas? You know, after the Gila Monster, the lizard?
Mark: The Havana Gilas? With a lizard as a mascot? That might work.
Fidel: He will wear beard. Our lizard mascot will wear a beard.
CGJ: Maybe dreadlocks? Maybe just two for sideburns?
Mark: You wouldn’t be kidding the ex-presidente, would you?
CGJ: No. No way. Maybe you can have a song to go with your lizard? And dance to it. Like a conga line and your cheerleaders get on the field singing about the Havana Gilas.
Mark: You’re doing this because I was on Dancing with the Stars, aren’t you?
CGJ: No way. By the way, I thought you should have won.
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