…far more than it would’ve been in most MLB ballparks, anyway.
A minor protest in the late innings of Cuba’s 11-2 win Thursday night against the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic led to the ejection of a high-ranking member of the Cuban delegation and had Cuba briefly threatening to pull out of the event.
Jose Garcia, a Cuban exile living in San Juan, sitting five rows behind the plate, held up a sign reading Abajo Fidel (Down With Fidel) that was clearly visible on the TV feed that was carried internationally, including in Cuba.
That led to a confrontion with as many as four credentialed members of the Cuban delegation, one of whom was escorted from the stands by armed police officers, who later returned to protect Garcia from further harassment.
Some members of the Cuban team left their dugout to watch the incident before continuing with the game. But afterward, Cuba refused to participate in the mandatory postgame news conference and, according to a high-ranking San Juan police official, threatened to pull out of the event.
”What happened was a great provocation on the part of four or five counter revolutionaries using signs and offensive language that violated the established norms of the organizing committee,” said a statement released by the Cuban team. “The local police, instead of fixing the problem, showed their support for [the protesters].”
The statement went on to say the Cuban delegation would meet with Major League Baseball officials early today to determine ”a solution” before tonight’s scheduled game with Puerto Rico.