POLITICS • Cuba announced Friday that athletes from all sports will soon be able to sign contracts with foreign leagues, a break with a decades-old policy that held pro sports to be anathema to socialist ideals. It's a step toward the day when the road from Havana to Yankee Stadium might mean simply hopping on a plane rather than attempting a perilous sea crossing or sneaking out of a hotel at midnight in a strange land.
Under the new policy, athletes will be eligible to play abroad as long as they fulfill their commitments at home, the Communist Party newspaper Granma reported. For baseball players, that means being available for international competitions as well as Cuba's November-to-April league.
But the U.S. embargo against Cuba means it may not happen anytime soon. Granma reported that Cuban athletes will have to pay taxes on any earnings from foreign clubs, an apparent conflict with the 51-year-old American embargo.
Earnhardt to start on pole at Dover
NASCAR • Dale Earnhardt Jr. turned a track record lap of 161.849 mph to win the pole at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. The top four qualifiers Friday are all from the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. Points leader Matt Kenseth starts second.
From wire reports