Kendrys Morales couldn’t be hitting the ball much better right now. And for that, Cuba is probably quite proud.
Anna Pankiewicz, a die-hard Royals fan and University of Kansas student, saw the support Cuba has kept for one of its own when she traveled to the island. And she couldn’t go far in her blue Royals’ cap without locals stopping to talk to her about the Royals’ World Series victory and their favorite Royal — Morales.
“They were so excited about his success,” Pankiewicz said, adding that many Cubans recalled the excitement they had when Morales played there.
“People would come (to games) in his jersey with (Morales’ No. 8) painted on their faces.”
Pankiewicz’s Royals cap opened up conversations she admitted she may not have had without it. Pankiewicz’s tour guide recalled Morales’ two-year stint in Cuba’s professional league before he escaped to the United States and reached the major leagues.
“Our tour guide told us that he was friends with Morales when they were growing up,” Pankiewicz said. “There wasn’t really a way for us to fact-check our guide, so we had to take his word, but he asked us to tell Morales ‘hi’ for him if we ever had the opportunity.”
Pankiewicz recalled her time in Cuba, watching baseball and wearing Royals’ blue in a blog post, including more about how Morales’ played in front of big crowds at Estadio Latinoamerico.