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NY Subway Strike Looms / Cuba Baseball Ban

The last subway strike here took place in 1980, but we could have another in 24 hours. That ain't good.

Commuting from Bay Ridge to midtown Manhattan will not be easy. The limited ferry service from 58th Street to lower Manhattan will be overwhelmed. The Phantom has a plan: either telecommute or hitchike. I last hitchhiked on 9/11, and I haven't lost the touch. Since cars will not be allowed onto Manhattan-bound highways without four passengers, drivers will practically be begging you to take a ride.

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Baseball is the Phantom's favorite sport, and is vastly more international than many think. There will be an international country vs country " World Cup " this March, with elimination rounds played in Puerto Rico, the USA and Japan. I'm not crazy about country vs country matches ; the world has enough nationalist bullshit already. But if this helps to raise the profile of baseball, then ok.

Well, now, in an astonishing blunder the US has banned the Cuban team from participating in the tournament, based on a technicality.

This is an act of the greatest stupidity. First, it will de-legitimize the championship and the tournament itself. Cuba is one of the world's great baseball nations, and if they're not in it, its a much weaker field. Second, it only serves to increase sympathy for aging dictator Fidel Castro and his undemocratic regime.

The larger economic embargo of 45 years duration has similarly helped Castro by making him the charismatic thug appear to be a nationalist standing up against the yanqui bully.

The decision to ban Cuba certainly had the explicit approval of President Bush. It is an act of manifest clumsiness. It should be immediately reversed.

Soon, some thoughts on the senior Senator from Arizona.

Realizing that I am responding to an old post, I wanted to add another good reason they should rethink the Cuba ban.

Some good talent has managed to defect from the Cuban team on its international forays, and the more the Cuban ballplayers get to see of the rest of the world, the more they want to get in on some of the action. The ones who don't defect go home and report what they've seen.

And if the Cubans win on the field, they win on the field. Baseball is no respecter of any ideology but its own: it is a meritocracy of the highest order. (Except when the Red Sawx win, of course.)

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