Led by veteran stars such as first baseman Orestes Kindelan
(left), Cuba has never lost an Olympic baseball game, amassing an
18-0 record and outscoring opponents 213-75 en route to two gold
medals. That should change in Sydney, where years of defections
will start catching up with Fidel Castro's club. Fifty-four Cuban
players have bailed out since 1991, weakening the team enough
that at the '99 Pan Am Games it lost preliminary games to Canada
and a squad of U.S. minor leaguers. Forget the smoke being blown
in Havana: Cuba would love to have the Yankees' Orlando (El
Duque) Hernandez, the Giants' Livan Hernandez and the Red Sox'
Rolando Arrojo in its Sydney rotation.
COLOR PHOTO: JOHN IACONO