What Baseball Means To Us


Our great friend and author of the excellent “Take Me With You: A Secret Search for Family in a Forbidden Cuba,” Carlos Frias puts the Ozzie Guillen fiasco into succinct perspective at the Palm Beach Post:

I sat quietly next to my father as we turned on the television Tuesday to watch the Miami Marlins hold a news conference to let their say-anything manager Ozzie Guillen clear up – and eventually take back – his odes of love for the Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

At 11:03 a.m., my father turned to me.

“People shouldn’t just give away their tickets; they should rip them up. Tear them to shreds. Show them with an empty stadium what this means to us,” he said.

What this means to him, he means.

Accomplishments stolen away

My father grew up one of 11 children in the farming province of Oriente, Cuba, with one pair of shoes for every two years of his life. He worked in the fields – at 11, he traveled alone by train with a load of tomatoes to sell in a nearby town – until he saved up enough money to leave to the big western city of Havana, where he set up a café stand in a corner of a busy market with one of his brothers.

That eventually grew into five cafés, a grocery store and a nightclub in the bustling city of Marianao, Cuba. (The American dream, no?) Well, those eventually became property of the Cuban government, which filed soldiers into the establishments, asked for the keys and marched the employees out at gunpoint before they locked the door behind them forever.

And then, when my father tried to leave the country in a speedboat because all travel was frozen, he was arrested and sentenced to two years in a prison called La Cabana, where he heard 17 men executed on his first night in jail. (He knows there were 17 because he heard that many coups de grce.) He spent two years working in an agricultural concentration camp, surrounded by soldiers with German shepherds, to “earn” his right to leave the country and have his passport stamped invalid as he left his Cuba forever, with nothing but a suitcase and a change of clothes.

Read the whole excellent thing, right here.

You’ll get a chance to meet and chat with Carlos at this year’s Cuba Nostalgia Convention as he’ll be joining us at the Babalu Pavilion, where we’ll have his excellent, excellent book “Take Me With You: A Secret Search for Family in a Forbidden Cuba” available for purchase. So come on down, pick up a great book that you wont be able to put down and get it signed by one of our finest of Cuban brothers.