MLB reporter Francys Romero: The man who broke the accord

HAVANA, CUBA - MAY 09: The Cuban flag flies in the outfield as kids play baseball on May 09, 2015 in the Alamar subarb of Havana, Cuba. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
HAVANA, CUBA - MAY 09: The Cuban flag flies in the outfield as kids play baseball on May 09, 2015 in the Alamar subarb of Havana, Cuba. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

A sit-down interview with the up-and-coming MLB reporter who broke the accord between Major League Baseball and the Cuban Baseball Federation.

HIALEAH,FL– MLB reporter Francys Romero is one of the most celebrated journalists of the last two years, he’s better known as the man who broke the agreement between the FCB and MLB.

The native of Villa Clara, Cuba is a contributor to MLB.COM and CiberCuba and in the near future will be releasing a book called “El Sueño y La Realidad: Historias de la Emigracion del Beisbol Cubano 1960-2018”, which is based on the events after Fidel Castro closed Cuba to professional baseball and the subsequent migration of Cubans to MLB.

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Romero also released a 25 best Cuban league prospects list in 2015 which was a reference guide for many writers for plenty of years.

In essence, Romero is the definition of an investigative journalist. He always premiering breaking news and his brand of journalism is strict and to the point.

I was able to sit down with the Cuban MLB reporter and discuss a wide array of issues yesterday and what you might hear will amaze you.

What inspired you to become an MLB reporter?

I gravitated towards baseball because of my father like many kids. One of his best friends was Pinar del Río shortstop Giraldo “Miracle” González.

One of my first memories on the diamond was when Pinar del Río visited the city I lived in Santa Clara, Giraldo took me on the field that day. He then sat me on the bench next to Omar Linares and  Linares asked me what my name was, I will never forget that day and since then my romance with baseball began.

As I grew older I began to learn the intricacies of a game that has a rich history and has impacted many of people emotionally and spiritually.

When I reached college my goal was to become a writer and write about the history of the game, this passion was fueled by the love I had for this game since childhood.

You never wrote for any official medium in Cuba, did this influence your decision to immigrate to the US?

I always liked to write about certain taboos in Cuba, things that were off-limits such as Major League Baseball and that is what got me blacklisted. Censorship runs rampant in Cuba especially when it comes to the media.

I knew that writing for a  government based paper I would never be able to write about what I like and if I was to write for such papers I would eventually frustrate myself. I was offered a job with various government sites, but I decided to decline them.

OnCuba gave me my start as a columnist in 2015, I would write a column for them every Saturday in which I would speak about Cubans in foreign leagues by doing this I began to evolve and mature as a writer.

The last straw for me in Cuba was when I was denied entry to the Tampa Bay Rays vs Cuba Spring Training game in Havana’s Latinoamericano Stadium in 2016. This made it evidently clear to me that I didn’t have any future as a journalist in Cuba or in general, period!!!

You were the MLB reporter who broke the story of the year in 2018-19 when you reported the accord between the FCB and MLB. How were you able to break that news from outside the confines of the island?

I was present for a meeting between the Federation and MLB in Havana when the negotiations between the two parties started in 2015.

I also participated in a press conference when MLB visited Cuba in December of 2015, from that time on I made it my duty to be involved in the subject matter. The agreement between the two parties was the biggest news between the two countries that were bonded together by baseball since the late 1800s and then estranged since the 1960s.

Many things had to materialize before I could break the story. In 2018 I heard rumblings about a deal was finally coming to pass. Thanks to a few sources of mine on the island and another few sources I have in big league organizations I was able to break the story on December 18 of that same year that signing of the agreement was imminent.

Why did you decide to write a book?

First, because I noticed that the Cuban government was hiding the history of immigration of their players and second because many have triumphed or failed outside that island and their stories weren’t being told. My main inspiration was to try to illustrate that story to the world. Many players have defied that system and have made a better life for themselves outside the prison us Cubans call a homeland. They braved coming to a new land, adapted to a new culture and made a better way of life for themselves. This is their story told through the eyes of Francys Romero.

I also wanted to analyze the migration patterns of Cuban baseball players from 1960 to 2018 and why they happened. This book is my attempt to tell a literary tale of something that occurred in the sports history of a land that ostracized itself from professional baseball and even humanity in some cases.

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What literary work can we expect from Francys Romero in the near future?

Well, the future in the literary world is always an uncertain one, especially in sports journalism. In my future, I might venture into investigative journalism. When I finish the process of presenting my book I will make a decision and chose my course. My goal is to always follow the truth no matter where it leads me.