Thursday, December 15, 2005

Talk about a foul ball...

From the Official TBWA’s "There Has to be More Important Things to be Worrying About” files comes this little tasty tidbit…

News Release: the U.S. government, in looking out for the safety of the nation, has done something to protect the country from danger. Cuba will not be allowed to participate in the inaugral World Baseball Classic.

We can all breath easy now and know that we’re safe from the stampeding hordes of… a couple dozen baseball players…

Forget that Iraq acidentally allowed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi slip through their fingers, the government has stopped a group of Cuban baseball players from entering the country, we’re saved!! (If you can’t sense the sarcasm here, you’re not trying hard enough…)

The Treasury Department told Major League Baseball on Wednesday that they will be keeping Cuba out of the World Baseball Classic, citing the standing embargo against the communist island nation.

Again, we can all breath easy now…

Paul Archey, the senior vice president of Major League Baseball International, and Gene Orza, the chief operating officer of the Major League Baseball Players Association have already vowed to work on having the decision reversed.

Some of you may be asking why the Treasury Department has any say in this matter… well, because of U.S. laws governing certain commercial transactions with the Comminist nation the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has to issue a permit to in order to allow them to play.

Let’s not pay any attention to the fact that in the tournament schedule; Cuba was to play its three first-round games in San Juan, Puerto Rico (facing Panama, the Netherlands and Puerto Rico).

If they advanced (fairly possible since they have a pretty good team), they would also have played their second-round games in Puerto Rico. So no games in the first 2 rounds would have been played on “official” U.S. soil since Puerto Rico is more of a protectorate than anything else (and that’s something else for another post on another day)

While government officials had yet to react to the decision, Cubans on the street in Havana were outraged. Not only because they felt it was unfair, but because it means they won't be able to see their players go up against the American major league stars.

"It is our policy that we do not confirm, deny or discuss licenses. Generally speaking, the Cuba embargo prohibits entering into contracts in which Cuba or Cuban nationals have an interest." Treasury spokeswoman Molly Millerwise said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

We should leave the politics out of this.This isn’t about communism or grudges against a nation that has weathered on despite being ignored by most of the world; it’s about baseball.

Again, we can all breath easy now…

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