The Cuban National Team will play 19 games in America and Canada with the Can-Am League
Cuban National Team to play in America and Canada
If you're craving international baseball before the 2017 World Baseball Classic, you'll soon be able to get a taste from within North America thanks to the independent Can-Am League. That's the same league that has given the Majors players like Craig Breslow, Chris Colabello, Steve Delabar and the amazingly named Balbino Fuenmayor in the Royals' system.
Next season, the Cuban National Team and a team of all-stars from the independent Japanese Shikoku Island League will play 19 games against the likes of the Rockland Boulders and Sussex County Miners starting on June 9. Even better, these won't be exhibition games, so all of the statistics and games will count in the league's standings. While it's the first year that the Cuban team has taken part in the league, the Shikoku League All-Stars went 6-10 in the league last year.
It's too early to know just which Cuban players will be joining in on the action next year, but you can probably expect some of the best National Team players to join in as there is no international tournament to play in next summer. That means you can probably look forward to stars like Yulieski Gourriel, Julio Martinez and Alfredo Despaigne suiting up in the games next season.
Plus, they'll likely face some of their countrymen. Last year, the second-place Quebec Capitales featured four Cuban players including Yunieski Gourriel (not Yulieski), who hit .374 to lead the league, collecting a golden bat for his performance.
Baseball everywhere, all the time. That's all we can ask for.
(h/t Big League Stew)