(Source: FBC logo courtesy of Federación Cubana de Béisbol. FEPCUBE logo courtesy of Cuban Professional Baseball Federation)
Just one month before the Cuban Professional Baseball Federation (FEPCUBE) sends its first team independent of the Federación Cubana de Béisbol to the Intercontinental Professional Baseball Series in Colombia, the FCB disapproved of the organization.
The series will be the first time since the late dictator Fidel Castro closed off Cuban baseball that a team of players not affiliated with the Federación Cubana de Beisbol will play in an international tournament.
In a statement released by the FCB this past Thursday, President Juan Reynaldo Perez Pardo and the federation clarified that they are not pleased with the arrival of FEPCUBE and their participation in the upcoming tournament.
“In addition to lacking legitimacy, according to the standards of the internationally established sport to represent Cuba in any sporting event, the FEPCUBE, created in the United States, disrespects the most elementary precepts of the sport by partnering and committing to a campaign linked to the organization, financing, and promotion of violent acts against institutions and legality in Cuba for the purpose of destabilization.”
In addition to the disapproval of FEPCUBE, the FCB denied an invitation to send a team to the upcoming Intercontinental Professional Baseball Series in early November, citing that the FCB would have to agree to a five-year contract that included any future teams in additional international tournaments.
In the FCB statement regarding FEPCUBE, the governing body of Cuba baseball criticized FEPCUBE’s reasoning and intentions. Rather than focusing on representing Cuba by playing a great brand of baseball, the FCB questioned the intentions of the new organization.
“The purpose of the self-styled FEPCUBE transcends sports,” the FCB said in their statement. “They are political and commercial, and their projection puts it on the side of those who contributed to the invalidation of the FCB-MLB agreement, of those who criticized the insertion of players from that circuit in the team that represented us in the World Baseball Classic and those who applauded and encouraged the aggressions suffered by our delegation in the US territory.”
A few weeks ago, the Cuban Professional Baseball Federation chose “FEPCUBE, Patria y Vida” as the team that will play in the Intercontinental Professional Baseball Series in Barranquilla, Colombia. “Patria y Vida” translates to “homeland and life.” Armando Llanes, President of the Cuban Professional Baseball Federation, told the Cuban Baseball Digest that choosing the team’s name took time and patience.
“Reaching this conclusion was not easy, but it was necessary for everyone to know that we represent a free Cuba and that we carry in our name the spirit of the homeland and life,” Llanes said.
A former Major League Baseball player duo will help direct the FEPCUBE “Patria y Vida” at the 2024 Intercontinental Professional Baseball Series. Former catcher Brayan Pena will manage the team, and former pitcher Orlando Hernandez is the team’s general manager.
Edinson Renteria, a former professional baseball player, organized the tournament and is the President of Team Renteria Baseball Academy in Miami, Florida.
The 2024 Intercontinental Professional Baseball Series, formerly the Latin American Series from 2013-19, will be played in Barranquilla, Colombia, from January 25 to February 1.
The countries rumored to play early next year in Colombia are Curacao, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Mexico, the United States, Cuba, and the host nation, Colombia.