Final Score: Cuba 5, Brazil 2.
World Baseball Conflict of the Game: 1996 Summer Olympics women’s volleyball fight between the two nations.
It was only a matter of time before we were reminded of this. There have been wars, there have been genocides, but there hasn’t been a conflict as truly disturbing as this minor verbal altercation during a match to determine who would get the nicer set of really expensive medals.
The past 16-17 years have been a tense time period for Brazil-Cuba relations. Ever since this event leaders of these two countries haven’t been able to discuss international affairs without a net between them, for fear that if it were removed something terrible would happen. These two nations meeting on the baseball field was a similarly difficult experience to watch.
During warmups, a series of pitcher protector screens were setup down the middle of the field to recreate the net that surely prevented a few maulings back in 1996. Members of each team yelled back and forth, hurling insults at the opposing squad who would often set it up and spike it back.
It was clear that the volleyball match from 1996 was fresh in the minds of both these teams. When the game began mostly eephuses were thrown as to replicate the arch of a volleyball. If a batter would popup the ball, another batter would run out with a bat and spike it down at the feet of a fielder. And short shorts were worn by all.
Cuba managed to take the game in the end, much like they took the gold in 1996. Will Brazil ever be able to recover? Is it even worth it? Losing the 1996 women’s volleyball semifinal and the 2nd game of the 2013 WBC round robin pool play is something no country has ever come back from. I would be shocked if Brazil was able to achieve the greatness it once had.