Barack Obama to travel to Cuba for game against Tampa Bay Rays

By The Sports Xchange  |  March 2, 2016 at 12:53 AM
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Posting "Play ball!" on his Twitter account, President Barack Obama announced Tuesday that he will attend a game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team on March 22 in Havana.

The White House said in a statement, "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."

The game will be the first in Cuba involving a major league team since a visit by the Baltimore Orioles in 1999.

Rays owner Stuart Sternberg in a statement, "The Rays are extremely proud to represent Major League Baseball on a trip that will be so memorable and significant for two countries that revere our great sport. Our franchise will be privileged to visit Cuba, to share the field with its National Team and to embody the goodwill of our game."

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred added in a statement, "Major League Baseball is excited to play in Cuba and to have the Tampa Bay Rays representing our 30 Clubs. During a 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."

In December, a group of Cuban-born major league players, including Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig and St. Louis Cardinals catcher Brayan Pena, participated in a three-day goodwill tour in Cuban.

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