Sports | October 25, 2017 12:45 pm

Yasiel Puig, Yulieski Gurriel Represent Cuban Invasion of MLB in the World Series

Cuban stars show that the island nation has finally taken over baseball once and for all.

Don’t tell President Trump, but Cuba has invaded the United States. But not in the guns, missiles and bombs sort of way. It’s with bats and gloves.

Finally, a pair of Cuban stars—the Los Angeles Dodgers’ outfielder Yasiel Puig and Houston Astros third baseman Yulieski Gurriel—are crushing it in the postseason and now the World Series. And as Vice Sports argues, “their presence in this World Series is the culmination of Major League Baseball’s slow and then, suddenly, very fast conquest of Cuban professional baseball.”

As Vice explains, the last time the two met in an official throwdown was in March 2011, as members of opposing Cuban teams in Cuba’s Serie Nacional. Puig was just 20 and was hitting .330, despite not even being the team’s biggest stud (Jose Abreu, who has starred for the Chicago White Sox had those honors). The 26-year-old Gurriel, on the other hand, was “was so good that he didn’t need to play in the majors to become proof that Cuban hitters could succeed in the United States.”

The following year, Puig defected, eventually signing a mammoth seven-year, $47 million contract with the Dodgers. Gurriel wouldn’t defect until 2016, signing a five-year deal with the Astros for $47.5 million.