Caribbean Series Could Expand For 2008

CAROLINA, P.R.--Rumors about an expansion of the Caribbean Series from its present four-nation field have floated around Roberto Clemente Walker Stadium all week during the 2007 edition of the event.

Commissioner of the Latin Confederation of Professional Baseball Juan Francisco Puello did nothing to douse the rumors, saying the Series could expand to include Nicaragua and Colombia as early as next year. The hottest rumor--that Cuba could rejoin the Series field--apparently remains an afterthought.

“Cuba was in the series in the beginning,” Puello said of the island nation, which was not included when the event was revived in 1970. “And if would be exceptional to have their talent level bolster the competitiveness of the Series. But the Series doesn’t need Cuba in order to be sustained. We’re fine the way we are now."

Cuba won seven Caribbean Series from 1949, when the first one was played in Havana, to 1960, the last Series held until it was revived in '70. While it's better known for producing players than Nicaragua and Colombia, those nations have emergine winter leagues with small but growing numbers of players affiliated with major league organizations.

“As competitveness in the Nicaraguan and Colombian leagues have increased, it’s possible we could expand to at least six teams," Puello said. "We have no negotiations with Cuba, nor will we approach Cuba. If Cuba wants to come back into the alliance, they will need to approach us.”

Nicaragua and Colombia could join the Series as early as 2008, when the event will be held in Santo Domingo, D.R.