Goodbye to the World Cup dream

It was being caressed, the forecasts were favorable and the project, careful and conscientious, was ready to climb one more step. One that was reached in 2013, but now must wait. Spain, after losing to the Czech Republic (3-1), has exhausted its options to be in the next Baseball World Cup (in March 2023), officially known as the World Baseball Classic. It could not be the first nor the second. Two disappointments in less than 24 hours that deny sleep. After an exciting qualifying start (two victories), the National Team, on Tuesday, already had it in their hands to secure the ticket for the World Cup event, but they escaped. The national team, which was leading 8-5 in the fourth inning, ended up falling to Great Britain. A team touched that went to their hotel very late, after one in the morning, and enduring a very cold night in Germany, scene of a cruel previous phase. Heads down and lost looks that no longer regained the strength to face a second chance.

Spain had beaten the Czech Republic in their last three meetings, but there was a catch. The Czech Republic is not a team given to show business, but it does ensure a fight and a certain solidity, formula enough to face the team led by Nelson Prada, with the emotional hangover from the previous day. Above all, when it comes to hitting, adding only one run in the entire game against a team that, four days before, had been surpassed by a resounding 21-7. The aim was to repeat the history of ten years ago, when a preliminary phase was overcome against France, South Africa and Israelbut ended up returning to the present in 2016, when the doors were also closed.

This time, with a final five scoreless innings, leaving a void that was badly wanted to be filled. “Being in the World Cup would be very important for us at all levels. It is the professional world championship, a level that we want to get closer to. Qualifying would be a success, a boost to baseball in Spain, one of the almost forgotten sports at the national level. Being among the top twenty in the world would allow the Major Leagues to notice us and take us into account when it comes to projects”, explained Juan Carlos Cerdá, technical director of the Royal Spanish Baseball and Softball Federation, to AS during the previousa few hours before the match.

the future exists

A precious opportunity escapes, but the base remains, that of a team with roots in the great world powers, to which they will continue to aspire. Most of the members, all with a Spanish passport, ancestors, residence or parents, essential conditions to be eligible, come from Venezuela. The Hernández brothers, Frank and Omar, Cubans, are a reflection of the essence of the team. They arrived at Viladecans (Barcelona) when they were nine years old, where they trained and grew as players. With them, the Americans Justin Connell and Christopher Kwitzer. The first, born in Barcelona; the second, with a Spanish mother. A team with winning genes that, with emerging stars like Noelvi Marte, keep alive the illusion of that second World Cup that is escaping today.

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