Cubans Ruin Journalistic Tour de Force

So I had to take a couple days off from the daily rigors of posting random, I mean "blogging for BigSoccer" to hit the road searching for an addition to my collection of antique tractors, (a topic I'd happily expand on if I thought there was anyone at all reading this who knew the difference between a moldboard and a drawbar).

So as I drove along I mentally composed a brilliantly hilarious (but not satirical in any way) post entitled "Defection Watch" describing how, based on their experience from the last two Gold Cups, there was little doubt that unless Cuba sent a brigade of paratroopers to surround their U23's day and night that at least a couple of them would be sunning themselves on some South Florida beach by the weekend, fielding calls from MLS General Managers offering plane tickets and tryouts.

And since they arrived late Monday and played on Tuesday, I figured the widely reported "heavy security" they were under would take until at least Friday before one or two of them managed to tie together enough bedsheets to get them onto the street from their fourth floor rooms.

Instead, they were in Florida all of maybe 30 hours - just long enough to thoroughly humiliate Peter Nowak - before they ran for the hills.

Apparently, things have gone straight to hell since "El Commandante" booked the "Nicolae Ceauşescu Suite" at the Old Tyrants Home and turned the island over to his only slightly less antiquated brother. "Heavy security" - which used to mean large, seriously ugly men with bulges under their coat where they carried serious Soviet-supplied weaponry - now apparently means some chinless dorks holding the door for you.

In a wildly daring daylight dash to freedom, five - ESPN Deportes is claiming this morning that there are actually SEVEN - players simply stood up from the dinner table and walked out a side door. Call it a communist version of "dine and dash".

Talk about a cleverly executed master plan. Raul's spooks were upstairs with echolocation devices and police dogs searching for tunnels and secret stashes of disguises and radios and these guys simply excused themselves to go to the can and hit the bricks.

Apparently, the Workers Paradise of the Caribbean is jamming World Soccer Daily (I wonder who we could get to do the same for us up here) and thus haven't heard Steven "I Have an Accent" Cohen decrying the fact that MLS players make as little as $17.7k. Or maybe they HAVE heard "t-shirt Steve" and, being the products of a wonderfully free education system, were able to compute that $17.7 per year is more then three times the Cuban per capita incomes.

Why hasn't Don Garber figured this out? We should send end our Developmental players to Cuba, where they can live like Kings instead of surviving on generic Cheerios and ramen noodles. Of course they still won't be able to have cars, but unlike the US where they can't afford them they'll be down south where the only cars available are 50 year old Studebakers.

So these five or seven or however many there are this morning players have blown a hole clean through my brilliant blog piece. By the time I sat down to type this up, they were already out buying cell phones and iPods.

I figure that one of two things happened here:

Maybe they heard through the grapevine that Castro has joined "the Revolution", and that Guevara used to be in MLS, has left for a bit but is thinking about coming back, and they decided to follow them, pick up some of those spiffy US Army surplus fatigues and join up.

Or else they heard that there's a chance that a year from now there'll be a Clinton in the White House, in which case if they waited until next time, they'd be sent back at gunpoint

Of course this incident presents a dilemma for Cuba: The team may be in violation of the tournament rules if they show up with a 12 man roster and, if they did indeed carelessly misplace seven guys, then they can only suit up 10 players anyway.

The plus for them is that they people who will have to make the decisions on this are Jack Warner and Chuck Blazer, both of whom are completely comfortable with, shall we say, accepting "financial inducements" to change the rules.

And honestly, it looks like their former teammates' biggest complaint is that they didn't invite them to come along.

As for the players themselves, we all know that most of them won't find themselves on MLS rosters anytime soon, and don't fool yourself into thinking that they don't know it too. Like most young men whose lives have been focused solely on soccer for most of their lives, they've never really thought about much of anything else. MLS developmental players can relate.

Either way, welcome to America guys. Happy to have you, even if you did jump the gun and ruin a perfectly good blog post. Despite what Rosie O"Donnel and Sean Penn think, it's a pretty cool place.

Buy condoms. Avoid prepaid cell phones. And tonight, when you're watching late-night TV and some incredibly succulent babe waves her rack at the camera and urges you to call and chat with her and other "hot singles" remember: the phone bill does come eventually, and $2.98 a minute adds up faster than you might think.

Good luck