Let’s not get ahead of ourselves on the United States’ conquest of baseball in Cuba

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The move to normalize U.S.-Cuba relations was announced a bit over 24 hours ago. In that time, U.S. baseball fans and writers have metaphorically carved up Cuba for the United States’ own baseball purposes. It’s almost like that’s what led to the revolution in the first place, ya know?

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Yes, I know things will change. Cuban players will come here in greater numbers. U.S. players may, once again, play in Cuba, be it in a winter league or a minor league team or what have you. There will certainly be an opening up of some kind.

But the talk of a draft of Cuban players, which I’m skeptical the Cuban government would allow, or wholesale free agency which neither MLB nor the Cuban government likely wants is premature at best. The talk about actually expanding into Cuba one day — Buster’s column today talks about that, even going so far as to have a guy create a logo — is almost silly. As friend-of-HBT Mark Armour notes, the average salary in Cuba is $22 a month. Major League Baseball turned-tail from Montreal and worries that places like Las Vegas and Portland won’t support a team. So, sure, they’re gonna run to expand to a place where a lot of people make less than the cost of helmet nachos as their monthly income.

No one knows what’s going to happen with baseball in Cuba. But before we start to speculate, it’s probably worth remembering that the country is poor. And that it’s still run by a communist regime whose very existence was predicated on a lot of people down there getting really pissed and resentful about U.S. companies coming down there, taking its resources and treating it like their little tropical playground.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.