Carpenter: Baseball salsa style, with Peter Bjarkman

From Dan Carpenter at Sky Blue Window on February 29, 2016, with SABR member Peter C. Bjarkman:

An author living in Lafayette, Indiana, has established himself as America’s, if not the world’s, leading authority on the uniquely exciting, culturally essential, politically entangled phenomenon of Cuban baseball.

Peter C. Bjarkman’s latest book, due out this May from Rowman & Littlefield, is Cuba’s Baseball Defectors: The Inside Story. Here’s a condensed version of our email interview about a publishing event made auspicious by new diplomatic warming between the nations.

SBW: Fascinated as Americans are with both the island and its game, we have it not just wrong, but backward. Is that what you’re telling us?

PB: What I tried to stress in the book was the unique nature of Cuban baseball as a world entirely independent of Major League Baseball control and thus a true “alternative baseball universe.” Cuba has been able to control its baseball for the past half century, admittedly and largely due to the accidents of Cold War political developments.

What is special about the island’s baseball is that Cuba has also been able (until recently) to keep all its best players at home and thus foster a baseball that is a true public entertainment and not merely a corporate commercial venture.

Obviously that is now all changing due to the complex set of circumstances that have caused players to flee the island in droves in search of big league riches.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: February 29, 2016. Last Updated: February 29, 2016.