Posted: Monday March 20, 2006 11:31AM; Updated: Monday March 20, 2006 11:52AM
I want to cheer for Cuba. I want to see them win and score one for the underdog. I want to celebrate a team overcoming significant obstacles, completing a story line that under any other circumstances would have its rights snapped up by Disney and rushed onto the big screen.
But I don't want them to go away empty-handed. Even if the Cubans make money from their run, it won't go directly to help anyone in Cuba, because in order for Cuba to be allowed into the tournament to begin with, all proceeds had to be diverted from the Cuban government.
At the root of it all are the players, many of whom surely harbor dreams of playing in the big leagues. I'd love to see vibrant second baseman Yulieski Gourriel spinning double plays or DH Yoandy Garlobo ripping hits into the gaps in the majors. But unless some serious and miraculous political changes go down, the only chance any of the Cubans have to come play in the States is to turn their backs on their country and defect, which -- and please excuse my naivety on this point -- just doesn't seem fair to anyone involved.
Despite it all, when I sit down on my couch tonight and see those guys in the red uniforms sprint out onto the field, I'm pretty sure the biggest part of my heart will be pulling for Cuba. Viva Cuba.
But another part of me will be saying, loudly and surely, hopefully sooner rather than later, Cuba Libre.
Game of the Week
I'm coming late to the party, I know, but over the last two weeks I've gotten into Deal or No Deal, NBC's game show hosted by noted germophobe Howie Mandel. Now I've found an online version that lets you play the game at home, except you don't have to feel like an idiot for turning down tens of thousands of dollars and ending up with a five-spot.
Alternate World Cup of the Week
According to its Web site, RoboCup is an "international research and education initiative." That sounds great and all, but let's call it out for what it really is: a chance to watch robots play soccer. The cool part is that they say they want to have robots able to beat a team of humans by the year 2050. Sure, but can they make the gossip pages as well as Ashley Cole or Beckham?
Alternate Winter Olympics of the Week
Here's a slick Web site dedicated to a campaign lobbying to have the 2014 Winter Olympics held on the planet Hoth. (You know, from The Empire Strikes Back.) I totally support the idea, and am even more behind it after reading about their plans to have the mascot be an "intestine-trailing Tauntan named Gutsy."