Yadir Drake of Team Cuba hits in the top of the 2nd inning during the World Baseball Classic exhibition game between Cuba and Rakuten Monkeys at Douliu Baseball Stadium on March 05, 2023 in Douliu, Taiwan. Drake will play in the Serie de Las Estrellas with Matanzas. (Photo by Gene Wang/Getty Images)
By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
The Cocodrilos de Matanzas will play in the 2024 Serie de Las Estrella on January 28 against an All-Star team from the 2023 Cuban Elite League season at 2 p.m. EST at Estadio Victoria de Girón in Matanzas, Cuba.
Matanzas won the 2023-24 Elite League championship, beating the Cazadores de Artemisa 12-5 game six to win the championship series in six games on Tuesday night at Estadio Victoria de Giron in Matanzas, Cuba.
The Cocodrilos de Matanzas finished in first place at 25-15 in the second season the Cuban Elite League operated.
Notably, Mantanzas will have Yadir Drake in the lineup for the Serie de Las Estrellas. Drake, a native of Matanzas, fled Cuba in 2011, escaping the island to Mexico on a boat with Yasiel Puig. Drake has since played in Mexico, Japan, and the U.S. minor leagues. He appeared with the Cuban national team in the 2023 World Baseball Classic.
Cuba will not participate in the 2024 Caribbean Series in Miami at loanDepot Park from February 1-9. Cuba played in the 2023 Caribbean Series after their three year absence from the 2019 tournament with the winner of the 2023-24 Elite league season champion Agricultores participating at the event in Caracas, Venezuela.
The Agricultores finished in last place at the 2023 Caribbean Series with their record a 1-6.
The 2023-24 Elite League champion Cocodrilos de Matanzas will participate in the Série de Las Estrellas, which will be the first club and national tournament operated by the FCB.
According to JIT Digital on January 22, the All-Stars of the 2023-24 Elite League season were selected to play in the event at Estadio Latinoamericano in Havana, Cuba by the media outlets and government companies that cover the FCB’s leagues.
The teams that will also participate at the 2024 Série de Las Estrellas will be the U-23 Venezuela national team, and the Mexico national team, which will carry players who played in the 2023 Liga Mexicana de Beisbol season or the 2023-24 Liga Arco Mexicana del Pacifico season.
Mexico will have players that have also played at the 2023 Central American and Caribbean Games in San Salvador, El Salvador, and the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, on the 2024 Serie de Las Estrellas tournament roster.
The FCB announced the schedule for the 2024 Serie de Las Estrellas tournament on Wednesday.
All of the 2024 Serie de Las Estrellas games will played at Estadio Victoria de Giró in Matazanas, Cuba.
All four participating teams will play two separate games and overlap home games from Jan. 28-30.
The first semifinals will be played at 2 p.m. EST on Jan. 29, with the second-place team playing the third-place team, and the second semifinal will pit the first-place team against the fourth-place team at 6:30 p.m. EST on Jan. 29.
The third place game will start at 2 p.m. EST on Feb. 1, and the 2024 Serie de Las Estrellas championship game will take place on Feb. 1 at 6:30 p.m. EST.
The Serie Nacional, which used to be the main winter league in Cuba, will play its third season as a spring/summer league when their season begins on March 9, 2024.