President Donald Trump is a golf guy, not a baseball guy. He’s never tried to own a team (as far as we know), has yet to throw out the first pitch at a baseball game, and on Monday, he rescinded an agreement between the U.S. and Cuba that allowed Cuban ball players to join the MLB without having to undergo the dangerous process of defecting from their home country.
The decision to cancel the agreement between the major leagues and the Cuban Baseball Federation comes as the Trump administration resumes a hardline stance against the island nation which had thawed during the later part of the Obama presidency. According to a Treasury Department memo obtained by ESPN, payments made between the MLB and the CBF were illegal because “a payment to the Cuban Baseball Federation is a payment to the Cuban government.” The decision was announced less than a week after the CBF released the first list of 34 players who would have been eligible to join the majors in America.
When the agreement—which the Washington Post explains allowed Cuban players to sign with a major league team and retain 100 percent of their signing bonus in exchange for the MLB paying a 25 percent of that to the CBF—was first announced last year, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio condemned the deal, calling it a “farce” and vowing to defeat it.
By rescinding the agreement, which is similar to ones America enjoys with the Japanese, Chinese, and Korean baseball leagues, Cuban players who wish to join an American team from here on out must now actively defect—a dangerous process in which people must essentially abandon their lives and family in order to come to the U.S.—as was the case of the Cincinnati Reds’ Yasiel Puig.
But hey, at least America’s favorite pastime is finally safe from those dangerous commie ball players, thanks to a guy who seems to care more about looking tough than he does about anything else.