There have been several disturbing developments in recent weeks for USA-based “aficionados” of the Cuban League who might attempt to follow island diamond developments via cyberspace. Foremost is the complete revamping this past week of the once-informative Radio COCO site (ww.radiococo.cu). This website has suffered in the past from excessive revisions and redesigning which often confused and frustrated its viewers (for one thing, many articles appeared and then were taken down a few weeks later and thus not available for future research; for another, the constantly shifting formats made it most difficult to locate such crucial data as team schedules and current standings); but until recently at least the Radio COCO site (largely the product of work by Yasel Porto) was a valuable source of statistics and photos from current Cuban League action. There was even an English-language page, though that part of the site was only rarely updated and didn’t keep pace with the Spanish-language materials. But now the Radio COCO page has undergone complete redesign which has resulted in a snazzy new appearance but a much reduced baseball content. The separate National Series page (as well as the English language page) has been removed; thus there are no current statistics, team standings, or weekly summaries for National Series #48 league action. And all historical materials have disappeared completely, including any information on Cuban national team play. All that currently remains are a few brief summary articles each week commenting on current developments in league play. This may be only a first step in the evolution of the new website and the more detailed National Series and national team pages may soon reappear. But what is left at the moment is a largely denuded website of little value to anyone trying to follow Cuban League baseball, either from up close or from a substantial international distance.
A similar disappointment has been the consistent unavailability of the official Cuban Baseball Federation website (www.beisbolcubano.cu) during the early weeks of the 2008-2009 season. While this site was of limited valuable in the past due to infrequent updating, at least it did provide historical data from previous National Series seasons, stories on Team Cuba in international tournaments, and occasional reports on current league developments. But in recent days the site has been inaccessible (“down”) to any access from outside of Cuba, although it continues to be available within Cuba itself. On the positive side, both the Cuban daily print periodical Juventud Rebelde (http://www.juventudrebelde.cu/especiales/serie-nacional-beisbol/) and broadcast outlet Radio Rebelde (http://www.radiorebelde.com.cu/48snb/index.html) have debutted new National Series #48 websites that cover this season’s league play. While the former page (Juventud Rebelde) is more elaborate and detailed, as well as more current, than the latter, neither website can be counted on for up-to-the-moment player stats or much in the way of useful photos for those wishing to follow Cuban basdeball action in any degree of detail.
The unfortunate result of all this reshuffling is that our own USA web page maintained by Ray Otero at www.basedecuba.com is the only true alternative remaining for international (especially North American) fans of the Cuban League and the Cuban national team. While we have also been struggling (due in part to the aforementioned limitations of information coming directly out of Cuba itself on a timely basis) to get our completely redesigned 2008-2009 site back up to full capacity, we have nonetheless been making rapid headway. Old stories and historical data from the earlier versions of the site are being re-entered as quickly as possible. Full team schedules, current standings, all the season’s boxscores, and detailed player stats are now once again available. We are covering all the makor stories as they break (such as the surprisingly fast 14-0 start by Villa Clara, and the startling 102 mph radar clocking for Holguiin southpaw Aroldis Chapman on Saturday evening). And we continue to provide regular TV and radio game action (almost daily) as well as numerous archival videos, features not found on any other website devoted exclusively to Cuban League baseball.