Rays to play exhibition game in Cuba
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.
— MLB (@MLB) March 2, 2016
President Obama tweeted back expressing his enthusiasm.
Play ball! https://t.co/S4DhVYa4Ef
— President Obama (@POTUS) March 2, 2016
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.
The White House, along Rays’ ace Chris Archer, their primary owner Stu Sternberg and president of baseball operations Matt Silverman, all had something to say positive to say about about this historic event and the two countries’ shared love for the game of baseball. The event will help further the efforts put forth by President Obama to mend the long strained relationship between Cuba and the United States.
According to Silverman the Rays’ mission is about,
“spreading goodwill through baseball”
According to ESPN.com the White House issued a more in-depth statement than simply the President’s fun tweet saying,
“Americans and Cubans share a love of baseball, and this is yet another powerful reminder of the kinship between our peoples as well as the progress we can achieve when we leverage those natural ties.”
It’s true that in order to mend our ties with Cuba that we must focus on the passions we share and baseball is certainly on of the biggest ones. Hopefully, history will continue to be productively made and the United States and Cuba can once again become allies instead of enemies.