Yoán Moncada, Luis Robert Jr. looking forward to incredible experience in the WBC
Moncada, Robert believe WBC will be incredible experience originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
GLENDALE, AZ – The next time you see Luis Robert Jr. and Yoán Moncada on a baseball field, it will be on the other side of the planet. The two leave for Taiwan on Wednesday to compete for Team Cuba in the World Baseball Classic.
Winning a World Series with the White Sox might be one dream, being able to play for their home country on the national stage is another.
“It means a lot to me. It was a dream I’ve had for a really, really long time before I came here,” Moncada said through White Sox translator Billy Russo. “I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a surreal experience for me. It’s something I’ve dreamed about and wanted to do. My dad wanted me to do that for a very long time. It’s going to be definitely one of the best experiences I’ll ever have in my life and I’m going to take full advantage of it.”
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Robert echoed the same thoughts about joining his fellow countrymen in the tournament which starts next week when Cuba opens up against the Netherlands on March 8.
“It’s going to be an incredible experience,” Robert Jr. said. “It was something I was dreaming about ever since I was a kid. I would watch the Cuban national team play. It was special just seeing them play. Now I get to be a part of it. It’s definitely going to be special for me.”
In previous editions of the World Baseball Classic, Cuba did not allow players who had defected from the country to compete on the national team. However, this year the Cuban Federation opened the door for players like Moncada and Robert Jr. to play for the squad, but were not allowed back into the country to practice with their teammates prior to the tournament.
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“I never thought that I would have the chance to play for the Cuban national team once I got here because once I got here I knew all the restrictions,” Moncada said. “I’m very glad that I have this opportunity right now. I’m very hopeful that this is the first step for Cuban players that are in the major leagues to represent our country in future tournaments.”
The journey to Taiwan is a long one. There are three stops, including a 14-hour flight from San Francisco to Taiwan. Moncada and Robert Jr. being able to share the experience together is a bonus for both of them.
“It’s a blessing,” Robert Jr. said. “Starting (Wednesday), knowing that he’s with me for the long flight and all the time I’m going to spend there, playing together. It definitely gives you a different comfort level just knowing that you’re going to be there with someone you already play with and you know him.
Moncada added: “This is going to be something that I will never forget.”
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