Something is moving silently within Cuban baseball that, if it comes to pass, would end five decades of imposed tradition and push Cuban players into what was once derided as "the slave game."
The Cuban Federation of Baseball is considering a proposal that would permit Cuban players to join professional leagues in other countries, a source close to the federation told El Nuevo Herald.
Federation vice president Antonio Castro, son of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, floated the proposal to members of the Cuban delegation during the 17th International Cup in Taipei, Taiwan, according to the source.
``Many rumors had been heard about Cuba looking for some sort of deal with professional circuits,'' said Carlos Pérez, president of Miami Sports Consulting, an agency that represents several Caribbean players. ``But we'd have to wait and see if this will work out or if it's just another idea dead on arrival.''
The initiative would allow Cuban players to join professional leagues and keep 60 percent of their wages, while the government collects the remaining 40 percent, the sources said.
The countries where Cubans would be permitted to play are: Taipei, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Italy.
Players would not be allowed to sign with Major League Baseball clubs because of the United States trade embargo on Cuba.
Antonio Castro's proposal was submitted to his father, Fidel, and his uncle, President Raúl Castro, the sources said. It has the support of the national federation, although figures such as former star shortstop Germán Mesa are said to oppose it.
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