(Photo by Jasen Vinlove/Miami Marlins/Getty Images)
By Conor Liguori
December 6, 2023
The Cuban Professional Baseball Federation has chosen “FEPCUBE, Patria y Vida” as the name of the independent team that will represent Cuba in the 2024 Intercontinental Professional Baseball Series in Barranquilla, Colombia, from January 25 to February 1.
“Patria y Vida” translates to “homeland and life.” Armando Llanes, President of the Cuban Professional Baseball Federation, believes it will represent the country and team splendidly.
“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 told The Cuban Baseball Digest.
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.
Professional baseball players from Cuba have historically been restricted from playing in international baseball events by the Federación Cubana de Béisbol. Still, the Cuban Professional Baseball Federation allows professional Cuban baseball players to represent their country without ties to the FCB.
Former Major League Baseball catcher Brayan Pena will manage the team at the Intercontinental Professional Baseball Series, and general manager Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez will assist in compiling a roster. According to The Cuban Baseball Digest, there is a list of 175 players that could secure a roster spot.
“We have achieved something unprecedented,” Hernandez told The Cuban Baseball Digest. “We will give our maximum effort on the field of play to emerge victorious. The name “FEPCUBE Patria y Vida” encapsulates the Cuban identity and yearning for freedom, providing additional motivation to elevate Cuba’s name to new heights in the Intercontinental Series.”
The Intercontinental Professional Baseball Series, previously the Latin American Series from 2013-19, was organized by Edinson Renteria. Renteria is a former infielder and enjoyed an 11-year playing career in minor league baseball, the Chinese Professional Baseball League, and the Liga Mexicana de Beisbol. He is the President of Team Renteria Baseball Academy in Miami, Florida.
The tournament’s name was changed due to the expected participation of teams from other continents. According to Nationworldnews.com, the hope is to have eight nations compete. 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.
Brayan Pena- Manager
Euclides Rojas- Bench Coach
Jorge Luis Toca- First Base Coach
Barbaro Garbey- Third Base Coach
Michael Tejera- Pitching Coach
Jose Ariel Contreras- Pitching Coach
Jose Castro- Hitting Coach
Yuniesky Gurriel- Hitting Coach