The 1999 meeting between Cuba and the Baltimore Orioles did not go well for the major league squad.
The Baltimore Orioles, led by their owner Peter Angelos, made a bid at international diplomacy in 1999. After a large push by Angelos, Major League Baseball and the Cuban government (along with a little help from the State Department, I'm sure) agreed to play a home-and-home series between the Cuban national team and Angelos' Orioles at the start of the season.
The first game was played in Havana in March before a roaring crowd of 50,000-plus. Angelos was joined in the front row behind home plate at Estadio Latinoamericano with MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and Cuban leader Fidel Castro. After the home team tied it up in the bottom of the 8th, the crowd was treated to a 3-2 Baltimore victory when an 11th-inning single from Harold Baines scored Will Clark from second. It was a thrilling but, ultimately, predictable game.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has been named as a potential suitor for taking over the Dodgers franchise, but would he be a good choice?
With his Dallas Mavericks having spared us the sight of LeBron James winning an NBA championship, owner Mark Cuban has been in the public spotlight lately. Given his billions of dollars and his past efforts to acquire a Major League Baseball franchise, not to mention a pair of ongoing ownership sagas in Queens and Los Angeles, it's no surprise that Cuban has been asked multiple times about whether he'd be interested in purchasing some portion of the Mets or Dodgers. While Fred Wilpon has found a minority buyer for the former in David Einhorn, MLB’s takeover of the latter's purse strings in the wake of Frank McCourt's financial chicanery has only amplified the chorus of voices calling upon Cuban to throw his hat in the ring. As a Dodger fan myself, I'd like to see it happen.
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The big Cuban came up big in 2009 for the Halos, but were his improvements at the plate a sign of things to come?
Everyone knew the Angels planned on using Kendry Morales at first base to replace Mark Teixeira this year, but the number of people who thought it would be a good move was much, much lower. Morales had put up great numbers in the minors, and was highly regarded when he first came to the United States from Cuba, but his talent had not translated into major league production. But finally given his opportunity to play every day this year, he came around, turning in one of the Angels' most productive seasons. How did Morales get to that point, and what does his future hold for him?
With a number of organizations deeply invested in Japan, the Pirates look for Cuban arms to help pull them out of the cellar.
If you don't believe it, just think back to a few months ago when the chat rooms, talk shows, and highlight shows were filled with news of the posting for Daisuke Matsuzaka by Seibu Lions, the spirited bidding war that ensued, the Boston Red Sox winning that bidding at a whopping $51,111,111.11 and the subsequent negotiations than ended with Dice-K signing a six-year contract worth $52 million.
Throw in the $26,000,194 the New York Yankees paid through the posting system to the Hanshin Tigers in order to sign left-hander Kei Igawa to a five-year, $20-million contract, and Japan has clearly replaced Cuba as the nation major league clubs look to for quick fixes.
Most Cuban players coming to the major leagues have been disappointments. Now, we may know why.
What did we have to say about him? Scouting reports said he had power to all fields, and he hit .391 in Cuba one year. Pretty much everything we knew about him was in the Baseball America article announcing his signing.
As much as I love reading BA, though, that was a pretty unsatisfying answer. We're performance analysts, dangit, and we didn't have a performance record to analyze, because Cuban baseball has always been this gaping black hole. Players came out every once in a while, the scouting reports raved over them, and George Steinbrenner or some other sap wrote out the big checks for them, but no one really knew how they would perform. While the Brothers Hernandez did fine, it seemed that the greatest talent of Cuban players was to be little Barnums, making suckers of the U.S. baseball establishment. Fidel may have been upset at losing the players, but the sight of so many capitalists losing so much money to Cubans had to bring him at least a small chuckle.
Mark Cuban made his fortune through the sale of his company, Broadcast.com, to Yahoo for $5.7 billion in 1999. Rather than push his luck during the frenetic peak of the Internet bubble, Cuban took his cash and fulfilled a dream, buying the NBA's Dallas Mavericks for $280 million in 2000. With a risk-taking approach and a focus on marketing and investing in the product, Cuban has since presided over the Mavericks' transformation into one of the league's most successful and high-profile teams. Cuban recently chatted with Baseball Prospectus about the role of a good owner, labor relations in pro sports, and more.
Baseball Prospectus: Do you see pro sports franchises as bottom-line operations, or are they more the domain of the public, and come with a different set of rules?