By Rich Rosenblum, tournament Director
Without a doubt, the 2020 MSBL Caribbean Championship featured the most competitive and exciting baseball in 26 years! More about that later in this article.
The real story started one month prior to the tournament, when a 6.6 magnitude earthquake struck off the southwest corner of Puerto Rico with devastating effects along the coastal area. Hundreds of aftershocks were to follow: homes, schools, buildings completely destroyed. Within hours of the initial jolt, MSBL players and friends who live there were texting unbelievable photos and stories! Baseball was not part of the discussion, but instead: “Thankfully, everyone’s OK!”
Then the conversation turned to baseball. Two managers who never met… one from PR South Coast and the other from Houston… whose teams were all set to play in the same division (45+)… who contacted me on the same day…had the same message: their rosters would be about half since many players had to cancel because of the earthquake. Luis Santini from PR South Coast and co-managers Ken Glanville and Lily Niland (who took the reins from the Houston manager, who was among those who canceled) had never met, and the thought occurred that they might want to combine their depleted squads to form a revitalized team. And, they did exactly that! Luis and several guys from the south coast received a warm welcoming applause and show of support at the Manager’s Meeting – as did Lily, the first woman to compete in the Caribbean tournament.
All were ready to play in the best-matched divisions where the baseball was as good as the top divisions in any previous MSBL tournament. What a series! 48 games played… 5 games ended in a tie… 14 one-run games… three walk-offs… 6 wins in last at-bat… pitching that dominated in some games… and others where timely hitting & offense won the day. In the end, the division winners were (25+) SoCal Titans / (35+) So Florida Cubs / 45+ PR Cardenales.
The winning teams earned MSBL rings, one MVP was selected for each division, and the manager took the Championship Caribbean trophy. Photos and highlights at www.MSBLpuertorico.com.
FYI: 2021 dates for the MSBL Caribbean Championships are February 4-7. All games played in stadiums, rings for the winners!