Hardball Theatre: Cuban Exports
A Podcast Play in One Act by Keith Good
(We are in the White House Press Room, Presidential podium against a blue curtain and the Presidential Seal. The murmur of restless reporters hums through the room. The hum escalates, joined by the cicada snap of camera shutters.)
Voice: And now we bring you the President’s remarks, live from the White House Press Room.
(President OBAMA takes his place at the podium.)
Obama: Ahhh….This past week, I had the fortune to travel to one of America’s closest neighbors, a land of great heritage…and greater baseball…(polite laughter), Cuba. This was an historic trip. The last sitting President to set foot on Cuban soil was Calvin Coolidge, way back in 1928.
Much has transpired in the past 88 years. Ours are two countries nestled to the Caribbean, yet separated by a common, Cold War.
And make no mistake, we still find deep flaw in Raul Castro’s disregard for human rights, his authoritarian attitudes toward dissent and free speech. Government must be of the people, by the people, and–ahhh–for the people. We…urge the Cuban government toward Democracy.
But every relationship must start, or in our case, re-start, somewhere. To that end, I’ve invited Major League Baseball executives here today. John Hart, with Atlanta…Ruben Amaro, Jr., with Phillies, Billy Beane–how’s that sandwich, Billy?–my good friend Jerry Reinsdorf… Representatives from all 30 MLB Clubs are here in attendance.
During my visit, I wanted to see how Cuban baseball fared against real MLB talent. I settled for the Rays instead. (Even politer laughter)
That exhibition game reinforced what we already know. Yoenis Cespedes, Jose Abreu, Aroldis Chapman, Yasiel Puig; Cuba’s best and brightest thrive in Major League Baseball. And because Raul Castro knows there must be a quid pro quo to rekindle our special relationship, we have opened American borders to Cuba’s greatest export.
No, not cigars. Though Barry does love him some Cubanas de Oros. I’m talking baseball players. Big bats and fireballers willing to sign for pennies in Milwaukee, San Diego, the South Side of Chicago, simply to get the hell out of Cuba.
(There is an audible gasp. A rustle as the audience shifts with excitement in their seats.)
Obama: Look under your seats. Yes, even you, Loria. Taped under all your seats are note cards bearing the names and low salary demands of Cuban all stars.
That’s right baseball, we’re giving you Cubans! (Pointing at crowd) You get a Cespedes! You get a Cespedes! Everyone gets a Cespedes!
(Cuban ballplayers stream out from the wings, hugging their new team owners like orphans finding their new mommies. Ruben Amaro, Jr. squeals from the front row, absolutely. LOSING. HIS. SHIT.)
Obama: That’s right, Ruben, your rebuild in Philly just got less awful. Cleveland, maybe you can score more than point-eight runs a game now. Even signing with the Marlins beats sailing the Straits of Florida on a raft made of old cigarette boxes and dog hair.
So suck on that, Trump-publicans. I just made America great again with a whole horde of immigrants. (Obama takes mic from podium, holds it for a moment then drops it. Feedback squeals.)
Obama: Mic drop! POTUS out, suckas!
(Obama struts off stage as pandemonium reigns.)