Under normal circumstances, a baseball is about the least controversial object on the planet. The little white orbs are also usually very universal, each of them wound with the ability to bridge cultures, erase language barriers and force smiles between countries that may not like each other.
Neither of those truths, however, was present when the Cuban national team and the NC Dinos from the Korea Baseball Organization met up in Taiwan on Thursday.
While the friendly exhibition was set up as a way to help the Cubans prepare for their World Baseball Classic opener in Japan on March 3, not a single pitch was thrown.
The reason? Neither side could agree on what brand of baseball to use.
According to NC Dinos officials, the two sides had previously agreed that they would each pitch their own choice of the ball. But just before the match, Cuba demanded a ball by the U.S. brand Brett Bros. be used by both teams.
"The ball had thick and wide seams, and it posed injury risks for our pitchers," one NC official said. "Then Cuba suggested we both play a Taiwanese ball. That ball also had big seams and we said we didn't want to play it. Finally, Cubans brought out some mysterious ball, and again we told them we couldn't play it."
The official explained Cuba first asked the game be canceled, and the Dinos were more than happy to oblige.
Well I've heard the phrase "taking your ball and going home" before, but I've never seen a literal instance outside of the third-grade sandlot. Hopefully Cuba didn't take it too literally as Havana is roughly 9,000 miles away from Dou Liou City.
We haven't heard Cuba's side of the story just yet. But to their credit, Cuba has already played two WBC warmups on their tour without incident, losing to Chinese Taipei in the opener on Tuesday and defeating Australia on Wednesday.
It really seems like an easy problem to resolve, though. Why not just use the official ball of the World Baseball Classic (pictured above)?
Big BLS H/N: Dan of MyKBO.net
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