Cuban baseball player Aroldis Chapman, pitcher for the New York Yankees, asked baseball fans around the world to support the Cuban Professional Ballplayers Association, recently created in Miami.
“To all baseball fans and followers, I ask on behalf of myself and free Cubans, to support the Cuban Professional Ballplayers Association, so we can take a good team to the 2023 World Classic, with the best Cuban players playing in the MLB, minor leagues and in many parts of the world,” Chapman said on his Instagram profile.
“We want to represent Cuba in the World Classic. We want to bring a great team and be able to represent our people, our flag, Cubans inside and outside Cuba. We just ask you to support us,” Chapman told his followers.
The pitcher known worldwide as The Cuban Missile, said that for many years Cuban athletes in exile have been left without the right to represent their people, but with the Association they will be able to recover that dream.
Another Cuban professional sportsman who has given his support to the Association and Chapman’s words, was boxer Yordenis Ugás.
“Thank you for being my brother and thank you for being not only a star, but for being a Cuban committed to our situation, to our cause. I hope to God you can fulfill your dream of playing in a classic,” said Ugás.
Cuban reguetonero Osmani García asked his followers for all the support for the Association and shared Chapman’s message.
“We need a ball team that really represents us in the World those of us who are lovers of Cuban professional Baseball and our All-Stars,” said García.
In mid-March 2022, a press conference was held at the well-known Versailles restaurant in Miami, where the creation of the Association of Cuban Professional Ballplayers (ACPBP) was officially announced.
Former Matanzas pitcher Edilberto Oropesa, a member of the board of directors, pointed out that this is a great opportunity for Cuban professional baseball athletes.The emblematic Cuban judo coach Ronaldo Veitía has died
“This is something unprecedented. It has been more than sixty years since the best ballplayers have represented Cuba and I think it would be historic for us to achieve the goal of creating a Cuban team of professional players to participate in the World Classic,” Oropesa said.
There is a lot of work to be done not only in the formation and selection of the team, but also in bureaucratic issues and worldwide recognition so that Cuban baseball players based outside the island can participate in the competition.
First, they must have the acceptance of the MLB and the Ballplayers Union. This will give them the right to participate independently in 2023 in the great baseball event at the national team level.
The Cuban Professional Ballplayers Association is led by Mario Fernández. It has the support of Cuban baseball figures such as Orlando “El Duque” Hernández, Luis Tiant, René Arocha and Oropesa himself.
Now Chapman from Holguin joins this group. His dream is to return to play with the Cuban jersey, although he said he would accept the possibility of representing the United States in the World Baseball Classic if the project of putting together an independent team to represent Cuba is not finally achieved.