The Puerto Rican Baseball Association (FBPR) finished the Olympics with a bittersweet flavor.
After failing to meet the goal of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics, the men’s national baseball team closed out the 2017 to 2020-21 run with two historic gold medals.
“It is without a doubt the best course in the history of Major League Baseball in Puerto Rico,” FBPR President Jose Quills expressed in a public letter. “At the 2018 Barranquilla Central American and Caribbean Games, we ended our 16-year drought with no medals. A year later, at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, she was unbeaten for her first baseball gold medal in that competition.”
However, Quills admitted that they failed to meet their Olympic ticket goal in the pre-Olympic tournament in the Americas, where Puerto Rico took no wins.
Puerto Rico ninth lost to the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and the United States, in a duel that had to be canceled in the fourth game and the result was in favor of the Americans 6-1.
But ultimately there have been more positive results in the past four years. There were eight pre-Olympic nations competing on one ticket,” Quills justified. “In the same way that we have sought to improve our performance, the rest of the leagues – with more economic resources than ours – have worked hard to achieve their victories.”
“It was a tough competition, competing against the best player in the baseball world,” the coach said.
Quells criticized people who blamed members of Team Puerto Rico IX, led by leader Juan “Igor” Gonzalez, for their performance in the pre-Olympic tournament.
“When victories are not achieved, it is unfortunate that you have to read unjustified accusations, ridicule and criticism against team members. A lot comes from anonymity or indirectly from people who had their chance within the team and did not achieve.”
“We can’t forget that baseball in Puerto Rico went four consecutive Olympics without medals. Gone are the improvisations and calls for practice with a week to go. Returning to the baseball podium for the 2017-2021 tournament was not by chance or luck. It was the result of an organized plan and change into the philosophy of the national team,” Quills added.
Doctor by profession highlighted that the FBPR had done “a lot with less” and “with limited resources” in the past four years and asked for more help from the government.
“Too often we see how immediate results are needed for sport when government does not treat it as a priority. It is time for authorities to understand that allocating resources to sport is not an expense, but an investment that takes young people off the streets, promotes health and trains better citizens,” said Quills, championing the business of sport. Players, Igor and Who. The team’s general manager, Efrain Williams.