Today, March 22, 2016, The Tampa Rays have made history by playing a game in Cuba. And, although there was a game played there in 1999, this game had the distinction of having in attendance President Barack Obama, the first sitting U.S. President in 88 years (Calvin Coolidge) to set foot in the country. This has stirred up a lot of emotions, and rightly so. And I, as a Latino born in NYC of two native Puerto Ricans, have my own perspective on this major event.
The feelings seem to be split according to age among the Cubans. The natives who lost and left behind their lives and their property naturally have a deep resentment that would probably not exist were a Castro not still in charge of the country. The Cubans born and raised in the US have mixed feelings (see: Dan LeBatard) due to the pain of their parents’ loss and a yearning to go back to the island of their ancestors.
As a baseball fan, I am thrilled. If Cuban baseball players can begin to sign with major league teams, a veritable baseball revolution will ensue. For a sport in dire need of an injection of passion, energy, and talent, it would be made to order for MLB. For the Cuban players who would potentially have the option to go back home to their friends and families, it would be life changing. The fans would be in for a treat. And I wouldn’t rule out a franchise in Cuba, considering its proximity to the U. S.
Most importantly for the people of Cuba, it could open the door to a life of freedom. Something most Cubans still on the island have never experienced.
Unfortunately any discussion related to Cuba has to inevitably include politics. And I can’t pretend to impart any knowledge about that. But I do know I can’t wait to get my ticket to Cuba.