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Another title for Carlos Martí

BeisbolAfter winning Cuban Baseball’s final series to take the season title, the veteran manager says, “I have devoted more than 50 years to baseball, and the wear and tear is felt… but it is no secret that baseball is my life”

Of all the experiences he has accumulated over his more than 50 years devoted to baseball – including 46 leading championship teams in Cuba – veteran manager Carlos Martí Santos will hold onto this memory with special affection: his third title with Granma’s Alazanes (Stallions), won with a fourth victory over the Matanzas Crocodiles in game six of the final series.

“I was very excited, I say it openly, because this victory is of great importance to Granma fans and, in particular, for the team, which won the victory without reinforcements,” the successful Granma manager told this newspaper, recalling the tight game played April 4, to decide the championship.

- You reached the final, but not as the favorite, how much did this influence the team?

- We always respected Matanzas as a rival and as the favorite, because they had the numbers, their players’ conditions and their status as champions in the last series supporting them, but we also knew that we were a team with plenty of ability and that is what we transmitted in every training session to the athletes.

Despite the setbacks we had before the final (several days of isolation due to COVID-19 and just a week of preparation) we were able to turn them into positive elements, to redouble our efforts and motivation on the field.”

- Although you are generally considered a very calm manager, how did Carlos Martí really experience that last tight game?

- Now that I am calm again, I can say that it was very difficult, especially when Matanzas, in the sixth inning, put the game at 5-1 in their favor, but the truth is that I never lost hope of winning that game. Then came Roel’s home run, and I said to myself: We are going to tie, because I saw the team’s enthusiasm, and I also studied the opponents who, in spite of their tremendous talent, were unable to recover psychologically from that hit. Then came the tie in the eighth and the victory we wanted in the ninth.

- If you had to define the key to the team’s success, what would you emphasize?

- We always tried to put together a machinery that would allow everyone to do what they were supposed to do on the field well. That is, a team in which cohesion between the most experienced players and the rookies flowed almost perfectly. That unity was the key.

Even Alfredo Despaigne, who was not physically with the team, had an influence, because, despite the 12-hour time difference between our country and Japan, he called every day during the meeting to give advice and support the athletes; that also counts.”

- After leading the Alazanes to take the title in 2017 and 2018, and keeping the team among the most stable over the last five years, this third trophy reconfirms your excellent career as manager in Cuban baseball?

-The Alazanes’ winning their third crown is not only a result of mine, but of the team’s management as a whole and of the Sports Institute (Inder) in Granma. Likewise, we must recognize the work done with athletes in the province, in the children’s leagues and sports schools. Many of these champions are products of these efforts.

- With this victory, will Martí return to lead the Granma team?

-That’s a difficult question to answer. I have devoted more than 50 years to baseball, and the wear and tear of so much time is felt, besides, there are plenty who believe we “veterans” should step aside, so whether or not I continue managing the Alazanes is a decision that still requires more analysis, since it is no secret that baseball is my life. Nonetheless, I am sure that, in baseball in my province, I will be useful until the day I die.

(Taken from Granma)

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