Monday, December 21, 2015

Baseball WILL Unify the United States and Cuba

For basically my entire lifetime the United States and Cuba have had little that the two countries actually agreed on. During the Cold War the Russians sided with Cuba, or vice versa but who is really counting at this point, while the United States countered with embargoes on the island country. These two countries, especially under former leader Fidel Castro, have never seen eye-to-eye and have never seemingly wanted to see eye-to-eye. Well until recently when President Barack Obama began lifting embargoes and restrictions on the country in hopes of easing the tension between the two countries diplomatically. President Obama may have opened the doors for a whole new set of possibilities between the two but it will be Major League Baseball that will unify the people of these two countries.

Recently Major League Baseball sent a goodwill tour to the country of Cuba in hopes of beginning a relationship and friendship between the league and Cuba. The US sent some of their own All-Stars, Clayton Kershaw being one of them, but also sent stars that defected from Cuba in Jose Abreu and Yasiel Puig to name a few. It was a great gesture by the league and it resulted in both the Cuban flag and the United States flag being flown side-by-side inside the Estadio Victoria de Giron. A stadium that features a massive scoreboard with a photograph of Fidel Castro on it. Castro’s youngest son, Antonio, like much of the Cuban population, has a passion for baseball and he may understand more than anyone what a working relationship between MLB and the Cuban government could mean not only for the sport and the game but for the working relationship between the two countries.

These two countries speak two entirely different languages, but one common theme is baseball. These two countries are led and run two entirely different ways. One is a democracy and one is likely still run by a dictator, Raul Castro, but one common theme is baseball. The vast majority of Cubans love the sport of Major League Baseball and MLB is the national past time of the United States. It’s these baby steps and good gestures built on mutual respect and willingness to work together that can and I think will lead to a prosperous working relationship between the two countries outside of baseball.

Let’s be frank, Cuba needs MLB just as much as MLB needs the country of Cuba. We need each other and this is just the beginning I think of great things that we are all going to be seeing. All because of the sport of baseball, the unifying power.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)