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Posted December 18, 2005 by mattlawrence in Cuban Sports

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At least 100 members of Congress have weighed in on the controversial U.S. decision to deny Cuba a license to play in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. Most of them want Cuba to play ball.

Eighty members of Congress signed letters to Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Treasury Secretary John Snow urging them “not to take international politics to the ball field.’‘

Major League Baseball and the Players Association organized an international baseball tournament to be played by 16 teams this March. But Treasury denied Cuba a necessary license because making money in a baseball tournament would violate the U.S. embargo against Cuba.

‘‘Let’s just enjoy the game and put sportsmanship over politics,’’ wrote the members in favor of a Cuba team.

New York Democrat Jose E. Serrano said through a spokesman Saturday that he expected to get another 20 members of Congress to sign the letter this weekend. In Florida, only Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (D-Miramar) signed it. ‘‘The World Baseball Classic should not be tainted by our grudge against Cuba’s government,’’ Serrano said in a statement. “Cuba produces some of the finest baseball talent in the world, and they deserve to participate.’‘

Another 12 members of Congress wrote Selig asking him to follow an idea proposed by U.S. Rep. Lincoln Daz-Balart: allow Cuban exile ball players to represent Cuba at the games. That idea was quickly rejected by MLB, because the rules require teams to be represented by a national baseball federation.

‘‘A team of free players, competing in a tournament with teams representing free peoples, is the best way to celebrate America’s game on a world stage,’’ the members wrote.

Among the Florida lawmakers who signed were: Republicans Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Mario Daz-Balart, Tom Feeney and Connie Mack, and Democrats Kendrick Meek, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Robert Wexler.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on December 18, 2005 by jesusp with 246 total posts

    The U.S. should have two secretaries of state running foreign policy, Ms. Rice for the rest of the world and the infamous team of Diaz-Balart/Ros-Lehtinen, running Cuban policy. Officially, that is, they’ve done such a great job with it!!

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