Tampa Bay to Play in Cuba for Obama and Castro

Fans at Havana's Latinoamericano Stadium where the game will be played.
Fans at Havana’s Latinoamericano Stadium where the game will be played.  Photo: Elio Delgado

HAVANA TIMES — The Tampa Bay Rays will coincide with President Obama in Havana on March 21-22 holding a baseball clinic and playing a game against the Cuban national team, reported the Tampa Tribune online on Monday.

The surprise announcement, expected to become official in the coming hours, will bring the first Major League team to Cuba since the Baltimore Orioles back in 1999.

President Obama will reportedly attend the game on March 22nd, most likely with his host Cuban President Raul Castro.

Cuban baseball players are making a big splash in MLB with numerous signing for multi-million dollar contracts in recent years. The latest was right-handed pitcher Yaisel Sierra with the L.A. Dodgers for $30 million.

However, do to US restrictions, the Cuban players must obtain residence in another country in order to do so, often involving being smuggled out of the country or abandoning the national team when playing abroad.

According to the Tribune, several of the Rays players will hold a baseball clinic on March 21st with the afternoon game to be played on the following day.

Obama will be the first sitting US president to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge back in 1928. Former president Jimmy Carter visited the island in 2002 and 2011.

3 thoughts on “Tampa Bay to Play in Cuba for Obama and Castro

  • He can speak very well, and especially when in front of a favourable audience, he can be eloquent and inspiring. However, on some occasions he has been far too deferential to his autocratic hosts and he softballs it.

    I’m on record as disagreeing strongly with his new Cuba policy, but if going to go that way, then he should push much more strongly for human rights in Cuba. John Kerry embarrassed himself the other day when he couldn’t provide any evidence that the Castro regime is improving their human rights record. He appeared to be unaware that arrests had increased significantly, and that the number of self-employed has actually decreased over the past year.

    If that is what his Secretary of State thinks, what hope have we that Obama is any better informed?

  • While it is clear he is not your favorite US President, I hope that you will agree that he communicates well and has never been afraid to speak his mind. I share your hope and I think he “hits it out of the park”.

  • I hope Obama uses this and every other opportunity to speak directly to the Cuban people in support of human rights & democracy in Cuba.

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