So, my people, it has come to this: merely mentioning my name can get you a five-game suspension from your job as a manager in MLYB (Major League Yankee Baseball).
That's "Yankee" in the generic sense, my people. I do not refer here to the arrogant capitalist "team" of multi-millionaires that has become so adept of late at swinging and missing when it comes to the so-called "World Series."
But please, do not misunderstand my remarks. Others have made that mistake (ex-President Carter, are you listening?) and have lived to regret it. Please remember: I may have been "promoted," from the presidency of our dear country to my current position as Senior Political Columnist for this newspaper, but I am still the brother -- older brother, I may add -- of Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba's Central Committee and President of the Councils of Ministers and State. And little brother Raul will kick anybody's ass who misunderstands my words. He is my protector. I know this because he so often reminds me of this fact. And because he has already kicked my ass, many times.
Ha ha.Only joking, little brother. If you are watching me, which I know you are. Only joking.
Where was I? Don't tell me. I remember. I was speaking of Ozzie Guillen, the temporarily deposed manager of the Miami Marlins. His great crime? He had words of praise for me. He said he admired my ability to withstand every attempt on my life that I have endured for the past 60 years. For this, the man was punished and forced to recant his statement.
Baseball. I remember when it was a sport, not a propaganda machine, a maker of moneyballs.
This sad story takes me back, my people. It takes me back to my days as a young man, my days as a foolish young man laboring under the yoke of a false imperialist dream: to one day pitch for the New York Yankees. Imagine me, a Yankee. I confess it to you. Imagine your Fidel in pinstripes. It is laughable. no?
Read no further if you disapprove, Mr. First Secretary. I know you are out there, watching, forever watching me. I am old, as you yourself have so often told me. But it is time I told the truth, an old man's truth. Fidel the fearless leader of his people, once dreamed of being a Yankee, in both the generic and specific senses. Yes! And he might have become one, too, but for bad advice of the man who called himself his manager.
And his brother.
I was a lefty, of course. I still remember the feel of the ball in my hand, the natural way my fingers seemed to seek out and find the stitches. Those were golden days, days when baseball was a game. A game with no political significance.
I practiced, my people, up in the mountains. There was little else to do. The day we were forced by hunger to boil the baseballs and and chew those horse hides . . . my people, it was a sad day. A very sad day, made all the sadder by the memory of my tryout only one year earlier, when I was a champion hurler for the University of Havanna Barbudos. Yes, yes, it's true. You could look it up!
Comrade Guillen spoke the truth. I have survived every political storm, every change in the political weather. And what have I got to show for my troubles? A column in a newspaper. I’m not even syndicated! Not even the Huffington Post picks up my stuff!
The other day, I was watching a pirated copy of my favorite movie on the DVD player little brother gave me at my retirement party. It is called "Bull Durham." It is very funny. It tells the story of a kid with a blazing fastball who had to learn control. I was such a one. I had a sweet fastball. And I learned control it. I learned it so well, I gave up the glove for a career as a doctor. Then a revolutionary. Then a leader of his people. Now, I stare at the only trophy I have ever been awarded for all those years of service. It was given to me at that horrible retirement party. It is called a loving cup, but it is not. I look at its little brass plate and the words laugh at me. They torture me.
The words say "World's Greatest Socialist."
That was Raul's idea of a joke. Who else would give such a gift. It was given to me by the same envious little man who was my manager in the glorious days before the revolution. The same "manager" who turned down the offer they made to play for a Yankee farm team. Not enough mazuma, he told me. Don't worry, he said. They'll come back. They'll come back and offer more.
They never did, my people. I received no second offer. It was back to the mountains for me. Back to the mountains for me and Raul.
You were my brother, Raul, you should have looked out for me a little bit. You should have taken care of me just a little bit, so I wouldn't have to eat boiled baseballs. I know you're watching me, little brother. I could have had class. I could have been a contender. I could have been somebody. I could have had endorsements, girls, my own line of toiletries, instead of being this bearded bum, which is what I am, let's face it Raul, a bum who makes eight-hour speeches and has to worry about his cigars blowing up in his face.
They may have been Yankee imperialist dreams, little brother, but they were MY Yankee imperialist dreams. And you took them and you smashed them and you made me who I am.
The World's Greatest Socialist.
I have no further need of a manager, Raul. You are fired, little brother. Comrade Guillen was correct. I have survived. I have survived even you. I am laughing Raul. Are you?