One thing I love about pre-revolutionary Cuban baseball was the slogans that each team used to rouse the faithful. Each of the four Cuban League teams were identified with a color, an icon, and a slogan. These slogans were chanted by fans, and printed on all manner of team documents and souvenir merchandise. So, for example, Almendares was blue (los azules), their mascot was a scorpion, and their slogan was “El que le gane al Almendares se muere” (he who defeats Almendares, dies).
The Alacranes’ bitter rivals, Habana Leones (los rojos) were not to be outdone. Their slogan was “La lena roja tarda pero llega” (the red beating is slow, but inevitable). The team representing the southern coastal city of Cienfuegos wore green and used the elephant as a mascot. Elefantes fans chanted “”El paso del elefante es lento pero aplasante” (the tread of the elephant is slow, but crushing). Only lowly Marianao seemed lacking in imagination, with the rather pedestrian “Ciudad que progresa”(city that progresses) as their motto, though much digging turned up what appeared to be an alternate and slightly more poetic slogan: “Sin cuento y sin alarde, nuestra lena siempre arde” (without story or boasting, our wood is always burning).
Not to be outdone, when Havana’s minor league franchise was elevated to AAA status in 1954, the Sugar Kings and their mascot Beisbolito proclaimed “Un paso mas y llegamos” (one more step, and we arrive). Presumably this meant one step away from the major leagues. Unfortunately the one who ärrived” was Fidel Castro, who ended professional baseball in Cuba and forced the now-homeless Sugar Kings to “arrive” in Jersey City in the middle of the 1960 season, never to return to Havana.