The business we’ve been discussing about Cuban players being unblocked by the U.S. government and Major League Baseball comes to an absurd little point today. ESPN reports that, as part of the new procedures to clear players, they must provide a sworn statement. This is the statement:
MLB provided teams a copy of the statement each prospect must sign. It says, in part, “I have taken up permanent residence outside of Cuba. In addition, I hereby state that I do not intend to, nor would I be welcome to, return to Cuba. Further, I hereby state that I am not a prohibited official of the Government of Cuba … and am not a prohibited member of the Cuban Communist Party.”
It’s unclear from this story where the bit about their party affiliation comes from. My assumption is that they are magic words designed to track the language the government is using in defining what is and what is not subject to continued U.S. sanctions in light of the recent announcement regarding normalization of relations. Whereas before any Cuban playing here is assumed to be here in a political asylum posture, in the future, some could be here on other terms and the U.S. government wants to maintain restrictions on Cuban Communist Party members while relaxing things with respect to regular citizens.
Still, it’s messed up optics to have people making such oaths. I want to know if a guy can hit an offspeed pitch, not whether or not he gets a Happy Triunfo de la Revolución card from Raul Castro each January 1. Neither or government nor our institutions should be in the business of asking about political affiliations, let alone requiring certain affiliations in order to let people ply their trade.