UNIVERSITY OF SAN DIEGO / Fall 2006
[pinch hitter]
New Ballgame
Cuba’s team coordinator in the inaugural World Baseball Classic covered all the bases
by Julene Snyder

ROBERT GALBRAITH/Reuters/Corbis

Guille Esquivel ’00 was practically born with a ball and glove in her hand: “I have loved baseball my whole life,” she says. “I was my father’s second son.” She’s certainly made her passion for organized athletics a big part of her academic career: As an undergraduate, she worked as the sports anchor for the Toreros and fed football scores to the Sports Ticker. Esquivel’s fascination with sports continued when she studied for her master’s in cultural studies — with a baseball emphasis, natch — which she earned from Claremont University in 2005.

So when the first World Baseball Classic folks offered her the opportunity to be a team coordinator, she jumped at it. “Of course, I requested Mexico, the Dominican Republic requested me, and I was hired for Cuba,” she says with a laugh.

It was a high-profile gig: U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow broke the news in 2005 that Cuba would not be allowed to compete in the inaugural event, a decision that was subsequently reversed in 2006.

Esquivel built a strong relationship with members of the team and their doctor, Tony Castro, son of Fidel. “Although I had many friends on other teams, I was genuinely rooting for ’my’ team to win it all.” She recalls that others continuously counted the Cubans out, but they never lost sight of their goal: reaching the finals.

“They told me they were taking me to San Diego (the site of the semi-finals and finals) from the get-go. I sometimes feared their magical run would be eclipsed, but they kept their promise; that was where they eliminated a powerful Dominican team in the semis and lost to Japan in the finals.”

Esquivel, who’s now back in Los Angeles working with a sports marketing agency, plans to start her own business that will provide services to Latino players by early 2007. She looks back on her World Classic experiences with nostalgia.

“The only part I would want to change is the ending,” she says. “The part where they lost to Japan 10-6. But they still did way better than people expected them to.”