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  • Cuban Arozarena Could be Olympian With Mexico


    (ATR) 2020 Major League Baseball postseason revelation Randy Arozarena is eligible to play for Mexico in the Tokyo Olympics baseball tournament.

    Randy Arozarena led the Tampa Bay Rays to the World Series in 2020. (Wikipedia)
    In response to Around the Rings, a source from the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) confirmed that "if Arozarena has a Mexican passport and it has been more than three years since he last represented Cuba, he may be eligible to represent Mexico."

    After fleeing from Cuba, by sea, and arriving in the Mexican state of Yucatán, in 2015, Arozarena was inserted into the professional baseball system of that country and at that time he became a naturalized Mexican.

    During the postseason broadcasts and the World Series, Mexican commentators from American sports channels reiterated the Cuban's passage through Mexican clubs before making his debut in the Major Leagues.

    One of the commentators, Edgar González, remarked on several occasions Arozarena's expressions of wanting to "represent Mexico in international tournaments".

    González is the director of “Probeis”, the Office of the Presidency for the Promotion and Development of Baseball, created by the president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

    López Obrador is a fervent lover of the sport, which is second in popularity in Mexico behind soccer.

    Among the player eligibility regulations, a competitor who has represented a country in WBSC competitions “and has changed nationality or acquired a new nationality will not participate in any other official WBSC competition to represent his new country. or region until three years have passed since the competitor last represented it ”.

    "This period can be reduced or even canceled with the agreement of the initial National Federation and the approval of the Executive Committee of the WBSC" clarifies the regulation in one of its parts seen by ATR.

    Arozarena competed for Cuba at U18 level in 2013. (WBSC)
    In 2013, Arozarena represented Cuba at a WBSC U18 World Championship.

    By complying with the rules, the inclusion of Arozarena in the Mexican team could be well received by the Mexican Olympic and sports authorities.

    Mexico has already qualified for the Olympic tournament next summer along with Japan, South Korea and Israel. It will be Mexico's first appearance in an Olympic baseball tournament. There are still two other teams to be determined for Tokyo 2020.

    Mexico could get an Olympic medal in this sport. Two of its pitchers, Julio Urías and David González, had outstanding performances with champion Los Angeles Dodgers in the last World Series.

    However, both would have to obtain authorization from MLB and their club to participate in the Olympic tournament, which could be problematic since the Olympics take place during the baseball season. Arozarena could face the same obstacle with his team the Tampa Bay Rays.


    After the World Series, Arozarena traveled to the Yucatán where he lives with his family for a short vacation, and this past weekend learned that he had received the Babe Ruth Award for Most Valuable Player of the MLB postseason.

    The Cuban found out while enjoying his honeymoon: according to the "Diario de Yucatán" he married the Colombian Cenelia Pinelo last Saturday, in a ceremony "in the midst of total secrecy" at a farm near the city of Mérida.

    The 25-year-old outfielder and designated hitter from Tampa Bay, a native of the Cuban province of Pinar del Río, was the winner in the vote of the New York chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

    Arozarena hit .377 with 10 home runs, 14 RBIs and a 1,273 OPS in 20 postseason games and received 64.3 percent of the vote to beat pitcher Clayton Kershaw and shortstop Corey Seager, both of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    Seager had been selected MVP of the National League Championship Series and the World Series, the latter in which the Dodgers defeated the Rays.
    Babe Ruth bats during the 1920 exhibition tour. (National Baseball Hall of Fame)

    Before that, Arozarena, in his second season in the majors, was voted Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. It can be said that he starred in one of the best individual postseasons in the history of the Major Leagues.

    The Babe Ruth el Cubano Award is handed out on the 100th anniversary of the visit of the “Gran Bambino” to Cuba in a series of exhibition games.

    Just two weeks ago Around the Rings recalled the arrival of the "Monarch" to Havana in 1920 and highlighted that among his varied records Arozarena equaled Ruth with the highest frequency of home runs in the history of the playoffs: one home run every 12 at-bats.

    The story of the Cuban defector, who debuted with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2019, has been so shocking that Hollywood has announced that it will bring it to the cinema at the end of 2021. Wonderfilm Media chose the screenwriter of the film "Invincible", Brad Gann, to write the story of Arozarena and his MLB journey.

    Perhaps it is also an Olympic story.

    Written and reported by Miguel Hernandez

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