Tampa Bay Rays, with all its stars and the Cuban national team will play a friendly match of baseball in the Latin American park of Havana, a duel that will make history, although undoubtedly, the figure in situ of the president of the United States, Barack Obama, will rob the majority of the flashes.
The meet will be a big event. On March 22, in the old Gran Estadio del Cerro (The Grand Cerro Stadium), politics and sport will coincide; the north and the south, but above all the privileged ones who get hold of a ticket for the match will be going on a date with history.
We’re part of something which is historical for both countries, we are excited to enjoy Cuba’s culture; a country which for a long time one could not freely travel to from the United States, said the Tampa starting pitcher, Chris Archer, an ‘All Star’ pitcher, fifth in line last season for the American League Cy Young award.
This will be the second visit to the island of a team from the Major Leagues since 1959 after the visit made by the Baltimore Orioles in 1999; and it will be the first visit of a North American President in almost 90 years.
Beyond the sports side of things, the visit of the Rays to Havana has provoked various reactions in Cuba and the United States, the majority in support of the new context in which the two nations live, now with sport acting as one of the viaducts of rapprochement.
This event (the match) is fruit of the serious process of dialogues, and shows interest in increasing mutually beneficial relations and in consolidating sport as a bridge of exchange between Cuba and the United States, said the Cuban Baseball Federation (FCB in Spanish) in a statement.
The executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, Tony Clark expressed his thanks to “all those involved in the organization of the game. We are very happy to return to Havana to continue our efforts which aim to strengthen relations between our countries through our love and passion for the game of baseball”.
Clark, alongside a group of high directors of the Major Leagues and various Cuban players who will perform in this championship, traveled to the island last December to promote a rapprochement between the FCB and the MLB, a fact that has had a huge impact on fans.
Very little came of these meetings although hope grew of seeing the Cuban baseball players playing legally in the United States where undoubtedly the best baseball in the world is played.
Until now, the Cuban players have had to resort to illegal actions in order to be able to arrive at the Majors and according to U.S. laws they even have to obligatorily renounce their Cuban citizenship to be contracted by any franchise of the Major Leagues.Share on FB Share on TT