The big news yesterday was that Cuban president Fidel Castro has apparently decided to call it quits and hand the Cuban government over to his kid brother Raul (incidentally, the kid is 76).
This is not really a huge surprise, as it is commonly believed that Raul has increasingly been running things ever since Fidel suffered a stroke back in 2006.
The elder Castro has led an eventful life over the last 50 years or so, from executing enemies with Che Guevara, to giving big hugs to Nikita Khrushchev, to watching his economy reel under a U.S. trade embargo, but my favorite story about ol’ Fidel revolves around baseball.
The story goes that Castro was a promising left-handed pitcher who earned a tryout with the Washington Senators back in the 1940s, but didn’t quite make the cut and decided to try his hand at ruthless dictatorship instead.
Unfortunately, as Snopes points out (and rather condescendingly, I might add), this whole story is bogus. Castro has been a supporter of baseball throughout his presidency and actually played for a mock-up team called the Barbudos, or “Bearded Ones” back in the 1950s (pictured above), but like so many of us, was never talented enough to seriously consider playing professionally.
Oh well. I guess it’s a little too much to expect a guy to be good at leading an insurrection, killing anyone who stands in his way, opposing a world superpower, stagnating a once thriving economy, and being a generally oppressive Communist dictator, and to have a Major League-caliber fastball.
All I know is that if you were playing against the Barbudos and El Presidente was on the mound, it was probably wise to make sure that you struck out at least once.