The Tampa Rays played (and defeated) the Cuban National team yesterday in Havana and President Barak Obama and his family were in attendance along with Raul Castro and a host of other dignitaries. The game marks the second time since 1959 that an American team has played in Cuba — the Baltimore Orioles defeated the national team, 3-2, in Havana in 1999. It will be interesting to see how the baseball relationship between these two baseball loving countries takes shape in the next few years.
The Minnesota Twins and the island of Cuba have a long history and it goes back to the 1960’s prior to the Washington Senators becoming the Minnesota Twins in 1961. The relationship between Calvin Griffith and Joe “Papa Joe” Cambria was an interesting one. The Senators/Twins had a nice Cuban pipeline going for a number of years.
Even though my mind wasn’t really in baseball mode after the crap that happened in Brussels yesterday (Brussels is across the border about an hour from where I live, so it is getting very close), I still wanted to see the historic game between the Cuban national team and the Tampa Bay Rays.
Overall the game itself wasn’t that exciting as the Rays were too strong without really flexing their muscles. The result also shows that Cuban baseball has deteriorated in the past two decades. Not only because of all the defectors but also because the highest league in Cuba is simply too big for the number of talented players. Back in the nineties, when Cuba played the Orioles, the team managed to win one game.
The Tampa Bay Rays and even President Obama will be in Cuba later this month while the Rays take on the Cuban National team. Something of this magnitude that has not occurred in almost 20 years, when the Baltimore Orioles played an exciting two-games series there in 1999. And even then President Clinton was not in attendance.
It is believed by many that the love and passion that the two countries share for the game of baseball will help bring them together. In part of a statement issued by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred he shared this sentiment saying that during this time of historic change,
“We appreciate the constructive role afforded by our shared passion for the game, and we look forward to experiencing Cuba’s storied baseball tradition and the passion of its many loyal fans.”
The Rays will fly into Cuba on March 20, hold an exhibition clinic on the 21st and play the Cuban National Team at Estadio Latinoamericano in Havana on the 22nd before returning home to the United States.
Hunter Stokes (Featured Writer) Follow @stokes_hunter21
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We had an old saying when I worked as a baggage handler backs eons ago at an undisclosed airport. It said “The Beatings will continue until morale improves.” Almost perfect to bashing the ownership of the Halo’s until they start spending again
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