Renowned Cuban umpire defects to United States

Nov 30, 2009 - 10:44 PM MIAMI(AP) -- A top Cuban umpire has defected to the United States.

The Spanish-language newspaper El Nuevo Herald reports that Nelson Diaz arrived in Miami on Sunday with his wife and two daughters.

Diaz worked in the Olympics and the 2006 World Baseball Classic. His 26-year career supposedly ended after he was picked to work the 2009 WBC in Japan but was told by Cuban baseball officials he couldn't go because they didn't trust him.

Diaz said one of the first things he did in the U.S. was place flowers at the tomb of his mother, who died in Miami before he could see her.

In 1999, Diaz called the exhibition game between the Cubans and Orioles in Baltimore. He helped restore order after a Cuban umpire body-slammed an anti-Castro demonstrator.

Diaz also participated in World Cups and the Pan American Games, among many other international tournaments.

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