Sanctions in Cuban baseball: the rope breaks on the weakest side

Five members of the National Baseball Commission (CNB) who were working on the 63rd edition of the Cuban baseball classic strikes They were sanctioned for their involvement in the case of referee Ricardo Campanioni and their presentation with a false identity in the Capitán San Luis park, where a strong controversy arose during the subseries between Pinar del Río and Matanzas in the middle of last April.

According to a of the CNB in ​​his X profile, referee Ricardo Campanioni, referee supervisor César Pérez, technical commissioner Charles Díaz and assistant scorer José Andrés Ramos were suspended for the rest of the competition. In addition, Yanet Moreno, head of the group of umpires who acted in that duel, received two subseries of punishment.

The sanctions were announced this Monday at a press conference, after two weeks of work by an investigative commission that the CNB itself created to determine what happened in San Luis. However, far from offering clarifications, after the period of investigations, the Cuban baseball authorities limited themselves to giving their verdict without providing explanations about the events in the lands of the lowlands.

A ghost referee in the 63rd National Series: chronology of a scandal

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These events have only been partially reconstructed through different press accounts, so we are looking for the testimonies of one of the protagonists of the story. We are talking about Charles Díaz, from Pinar del Río with more than 50 years of experience in baseball as a player, coach and director in the domestic classics, who served as technical commissioner in those games of discord in Pinar del Río.

Charles, one of those sanctioned by the CNB, agreed to talk with OnCuba to detail the facts of the “Campanioni case”, which had its genesis on April 16. That day, the umpire in question decreed out to a Vegueros Río runner on a play at third base at the end of the initial clash against Matanzas. A video spread on social networks clearly showed the referee’s error, which caused a violent reaction from some fans in the Pativerde fiefdom.

Subsequently, the directors of the National Series decide to suspend Campanioni for two games for his ruling, but the sanction is not made public on any of the entity’s official channels.

“That supposed suspension never reached me, but Campanioni stayed at the hotel during the games on Wednesday and Thursday (April 17 and 18), he did not work. Afterwards, the referee supervisor (César Pérez) informed me that Campanioni would return to the field on Saturday (April 20),” says Charles, who upon learning this last detail contacted Carlos Martín, director of the National Series, to offer his opinion. about the situation.

“I told him that I did not agree, that I preferred to work with three referees rather than using Campanioni, because the show could get out of hand. For me, that man was not going on the field and I expressed this to the chief referee. It may have been a problem, it may not have been, but I was trying to prevent the problem from happening,” says Charles.

The case of the ghost referee in a game of the 63rd National Baseball Series continues to fuel controversy. Photo: Ricardo López Hevia.

Despite the experienced technician’s call for attention, the CNB authorities responded that the decision whether or not to place Campanioni on the field corresponded to the Rules and Refereeing staff. This response from the superiors is a flagrant violation of the competition regulations, which establish that the technical commissioners are the main authority in each stadium in the country.

“They are the highest authority representing the CNB and INDER at the baseball game venues, guaranteeing, with their work, that the spectacle reaches our people and abroad at the level that our national sport deserves. Its main function will be to foresee, at all times, those aspects that go against that purpose. “He will be the person most responsible for all incidents that arise in the game,” the Regulations on the basic tasks of the technical commissioners refer verbatim.

However, from Havana they advised Charles Díaz to leave the way clear so that the decision could be made by César Pérez, the referee supervisor, and Yanet Moreno, head of the referee group. umpires who worked in that subseries, who determined to place Ricardo Campanioni on second base but with a false name.

“They tell me that they decided to put Campanioni in second because there were no more referees, and that they were going to put him with a false name so that the population would not realize,” says Charles, who also explained how the events developed. .

“The scorer, as a protocol, before the games collects the lineup of each team and then requests the rotation of the referees from the group leader. That’s when Yanet Moreno gives him the name of Roberto Rodríguez as second referee. The scorer takes the information to the local audio and to the press and everyone realizes the lie. That was all that happened,” Charles explains.

This testimony was corroborated by scorer José Andrés Ramos in statements offered to journalist Osbel Benítez: “On Saturday, April 20, before the game, group leader Yanet Moreno informed me to tell the local announcer to say the name of Roberto Rodríguez on second base. . That’s what really happened. “I am not a man of telling lies.”

Yanet Moreno was one of the officials sanctioned for falsifying the identity of a referee in a game of the 63rd National Baseball Series. Photo: Ricardo López Hevia.

For his part, Charles Díaz considers that the CNB sanctions are unfair, since they did not measure all those involved with the same yardstick. “I took all the steps that corresponded to me as technical commissioner, but the rope always breaks on the weakest side. “I am stunned.”

The National Commission in question

If anything has been called into question after these events, it is the image of the National Baseball Series and the credibility of the National Commission which, in its attempt to cover the trail of bad practices and gross errors, has left even more loose ends.

The baseball authorities, in the first instance, denied that a referee with a false identity had appeared in a championship game. “It has not happened nor will it happen,” on April 27, without any investigation or evidence that would allow them to be so categorical. In that same statement they accused – implicitly – the journalists Ernesto Amaya (Radio Guamá), Osbel Benítez (Tele Pinar) and Michel Contreras (Cubanet) of intentionally lacking “the most basic sense of ethics” for disclosing information about what happened in the Captain San Luis.

The home plate umpire wipes away sweat during a baseball game of the 59th National Series, at the Latin American stadium in Havana. Photo: Otmaro Rodríguez.
The umpires have been one of the focuses of attention in the 63rd National Baseball Series. Photo: Otmaro Rodríguez.

Subsequently, only after these reporters responded with solid arguments on social networks, the CNB the falsified identity of referee Ricardo Campanioni. Where I said I say, I say Diego. However, they never publicly apologized to journalists for questioning his professional ethics.

They then created a commission to investigate the facts, but ruled out that any director or official of the entity was responsible for lying to the fans by presenting a umpire with a false name. However, they have now sanctioned five officers who directly belong to the CNB apparatus. Again, where I said I say…

There are too many inconsistencies that call into question the management of the CNB, as well as the honesty and competence of the current board of directors to handle a sensitive matter. At this point in history, the fans are clamoring for a new statement from the authorities, for a more exhaustive and critical analysis of what happened in Pinar del Río and, above all, for more transparency from an institution that until now has not been able to fulfill one of its sacred missions: respect the public and the protagonists of the game.

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