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On the eve of this countrys centennial year, which will surely attract record crowds of tourists, its not a good thing to lose one of the attractions that makes visiting Panama fun. The PROBEIS baseball league brought professional winter ball back to the isthmus after many years absence, but after only one year the 2002-2003 season has been cancelled. The stated reason is that only one stadium in Panama, the National Stadium, meets the quality standards that Major League Baseball demands in order to risk their up-and coming talent in winter leagues.
In the Legislative Assembly, the deputies have been too busy launching racist and pseudo-nationalist attacks on the reputation of the greatest baseball player ever to come from Panama, Rodney Carew, to deal with the real problems in Panamanian sports. Apparently because none of her relatives has the talent to play hardball with the big boys, President Moscoso, who as the nations chief executive is in charge of the National Sports Institute (INDE), has stood idly by while the upgrade of just one of INDEs public baseball fields would have met Major League Baseballs demand. Panama has lost a hard-won gain mainly because the self-centered politicians dont care about anything but their own powers and luxuries.
There is damage control to be done. If the right things are done, this setback need not be the end of Panamas baseball ambitions. The lack of a winter baseball league should not prevent efforts to bring some spring training exhibition games to the National Stadium during our centennial year. The problems with traffic, parking and public transportation that have vexed the National Stadium still need to be worked out in order for any PROBEIS revival or big league exhibition game to be an economic success. Whether or not its to meet Major League Baseballs standards, most of Panamas athletic facilities need serious improvements.
It ought to be a matter of national pride, but at the moment Panama is run by people who know neither pride nor shame. And thus we have suffered yet another blow to our culture and economy, when this setback could have been easily prevented.
Bear in mind...
I have lived to thank God that all my prayers have not been answered.
If our last decade or two of collapsing assumptions has been a period of unusual discomfort, it is reassuring to know that the human species has lived through worse before.
The personal strengths and weaknesses of a leader are no true indication of the merits of his cause.