‘Brother, I could make a documentary’: The evolution of baseball player departures from Cuba

BALTIMORE — Aledmys Díaz stuffed his jersey into a small backpack and walked away from the Cuban National Team during a tournament in the Netherlands in 2012.

Cionel Pérez was coming off a terrific season in Cuba’s Serie Nacional when he fled, leaving the island by boat in 2015, bound for the Dominican Republic.

The following year, brothers Yuli and Lourdes Gurriel, considered Cuban baseball royalty, had finished playing in the Caribbean Series when they abandoned Cuba’s team in the Dominican, sneaking across the border into Haiti.

These departures illustrate some of the most common clandestine paths players used for years as they sought to flee Cuba for a chance to play baseball in the United States.

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