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oneupper
01-20-2006, 12:57 PM
Cuba allowed to play in World Baseball Classic
By RONALD BLUM, AP Baseball Writer
January 20, 2006

NEW YORK (AP) -- Cuba will be allowed to play in the World Baseball Classic, after all.

The U.S. Treasury Department issued a license Friday allowing the Cubans to participate in the 16-team tournament.

Baseball's first application was denied in mid-December by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, but the commissioner's office and the players' association reapplied after Cuba said it would donate any profits it receives to victims of Hurricane Katrina.

U.S. laws aimed at punishing Fidel Castro's communist government prohibit certain commercial transactions with Cuba, generally attempting to deny money.

"Working closely with World Baseball Classic Inc. and the State Department, we were able to reach a licensable agreement that upholds both the legal scope and the spirit of the sanctions," Treasury spokeswoman Molly Millerwise said.

"This agreement ensures that no funding will make its way into the hands of the Castro regime. The Treasury is pleased to now be able to issue this license and looks forward to seeing all of the teams showcase their talents on the international stage."

After the initial rejection, the International Baseball Federation threatened to withdraw its sanction of the tournament if Cuba was not allowed to participate and Puerto Rico threatened to withdraw as a host.

"We were always positive," said Antonio Munoz, the promoter who paid millions of dollars to stage the first two rounds in Puerto Rico. "There were some negative people, but they were wrong in the end. I always said there was no Plan B. There was only one plan: That Cuba would come and that all efforts should be focused on obtaining approval."

U.S. Olympic Committee chairman Peter Ueberroth had called on the Bush administration to reverse its decision, saying banning Cuba could hurt future American Olympic bids.

Initial reaction to Friday's decision among Cuban fans was positive.

"Oh, magnificent! Tremendous!" exclaimed Osvaldo Herrera, who was standing on a street corner in Havana with three other sports lovers discussing Cuban baseball.

The tournament, the first in which the world's top players will participate on national teams, runs from March 3-20. The other 15 teams submitted their 60-man preliminary rosters earlier this week.

Cuba won the Olympic gold medal in 1992, 1996 and 2004, and the United States won in 2000. Olympic baseball was initially limited to amateur players, but even after professionals were allowed in for the 2000 Sydney Games, major leaguers didn't participate because baseball doesn't stop its regular season for the Olympics.

Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Roger Clemens are among the big-name players on the U.S. roster, and Manny Ramirez, Albert Pujols and Vladimir Guerrero are on the Dominican team. Puerto Rico and Japan also are expected to be among the top teams at the tournament.

Cuba is in Group B with Panama, Puerto Rico and the Netherlands, playing its first-round games in San Juan. If they advance, the Cubans also would play their second-round games in San Juan.

Other first-round sites include Kissimmee, Fla.; Phoenix; Scottsdale, Ariz.; and Tokyo. Second-round games also will be played in Anaheim, Calif., and the semifinals and final will be in San Diego.

Associated Press writers Anne-Marie Garcia in Havana and Pedro Zayas in San Juan contributed to this report


Updated on Friday, Jan 20, 2006 12:04 pm EST

RedFanAlways1966
01-20-2006, 01:08 PM
"This agreement ensures that no funding will make its way into the hands of the Castro regime. The Treasury is pleased to now be able to issue this license and looks forward to seeing all of the teams showcase their talents on the international stage."

Good news.... both that Cuba will participate and Castro will not get money from it. Also that Hurricane Katrina victims will get that money (I hope). Good to see that things can be worked out in the end and everyone can play the game.

Chip R
01-20-2006, 01:33 PM
Good to see that things can be worked out in the end and everyone can play the game.

That's what it's all about, isn't it? Just playing the game and not having to worry about politics. :)

savafan
01-20-2006, 02:46 PM
The statement made by Castro that the US didn't want Cuba to participate because we didn't want them to beat us probably struck a nerve with the current administration. The Bushes are huge baseball fans, H.W.'s college playing days to W's time as Rangers owner, you know they want to show that the US is the strongest baseball country.

KronoRed
01-20-2006, 10:50 PM
If they beat us now..what happens? ;)

wheels
01-21-2006, 12:17 AM
This is getting good.

I guess I'm in the minority, but I can't wait for this.

I know the timing's a little off.

I know it takes players away from Spring Training, but I really don't care.

It's World Baseball at it's highest level and it will be infinitely fun to watch.

Heck, I used to dig hard when Fox would broadcast the Carribean World Series.

I'm a junky and I need my fix. I also need to root for a team that actually has a chance to win something for once.

Does anyone think Canadian Hockey fans complain when the Olympics comes around?

I say stop being an elitist and feed your fix.

oneupper
01-21-2006, 04:09 PM
This is getting good.

I guess I'm in the minority, but I can't wait for this.

I know the timing's a little off.

I know it takes players away from Spring Training, but I really don't care.

It's World Baseball at it's highest level and it will be infinitely fun to watch.

Heck, I used to dig hard when Fox would broadcast the Carribean World Series.

I'm a junky and I need my fix. I also need to root for a team that actually has a chance to win something for once.

Does anyone think Canadian Hockey fans complain when the Olympics comes around?

I say stop being an elitist and feed your fix.

I must admit I'm getting excited, too.

I thinking about driving up to Orlando to see some of the Group 2 games (including Venezuela).

M2
01-21-2006, 04:14 PM
oenupper, what do you think of Venezuela's chances?

I'm thinking it might win this thing.

cincinnati chili
01-21-2006, 04:23 PM
I might be in Puerto Rico during one of the rounds. I was SHOCKED at how expensive the tickets are:
http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/mlb/wbc/tickets.jsp?venue=pr

I realize one gets access to 12 games (6 games per round), but I wonder if Bud and company did their homework on the demand side of this. (I won't be attending)



Ticket Prices:
Seat Type Strip Pricing
Pricing (includes both Round 1 & Round 2)
Infield Box (Blue) $1,146.00
Palco A $966.00
Palco B $696.00
Preferencia A $516.00
Preferencia B $456.00
Entrada General (12-17) $318.00
Bleachers $138.00

RFS62
01-21-2006, 04:26 PM
I wonder if Cuba is worried about any of their players defecting?

oneupper
01-21-2006, 04:46 PM
oenupper, what do you think of Venezuela's chances?

I'm thinking it might win this thing.

The team's good, its more balanced than some of the others.
I like the SP better than the Dominican Republic's.
Santana, Garcia and Zambrano make a tough top three, with K-Rod then out of the pen. The Dominican Republic can hit a ton, but after Pedro, I dunno about the pitching (Jose Lima, anyone?)

I forsee a great matchup Pedro vs. Santana, to basically decide the group (which is POOL D, for some reason I thought it was Group 2)

The US HAS to be the huge favorite, though. There is so much depth everywhere.

oneupper
01-21-2006, 05:56 PM
I might be in Puerto Rico during one of the rounds. I was SHOCKED at how expensive the tickets are:
http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/mlb/wbc/tickets.jsp?venue=pr

I realize one gets access to 12 games (6 games per round), but I wonder if Bud and company did their homework on the demand side of this. (I won't be attending)



Ticket Prices:
Seat Type Strip Pricing
Pricing (includes both Round 1 & Round 2)
Infield Box (Blue) $1,146.00
Palco A $966.00
Palco B $696.00
Preferencia A $516.00
Preferencia B $456.00
Entrada General (12-17) $318.00
Bleachers $138.00



Pricing at the Orlando Venues is much better, $25 per game for the best seats. I guess prices were set by the local promoters, otherwise it doesn't make sense.