Burgos: Barack Obama, MLB, and the worrisome future of Beisbol de Cuba

From SABR member Adrian Burgos Jr. at The Sporting News on March 22, 2016:

This week’s visit of President Barack Obama to Cuba is a historic moment in U.S.-Cuban relations. Americans of all backgrounds and political persuasions are curious observers of something not seen for nearly 90 years, a U.S. president stepping onto Cuban soil and interacting with the Cuban people in addition to meeting with Cuban government officials.

Baseball aficionados throughout the Americas are among those closely watching the events unfolding in Cuba, and it’s not really because the Rays are set to play an exhibition Tuesday vs. the Cuban national team in Havana, or that Obama is expected to attend the game.

Rather, it is the future of Cuban baseball that is drawing the attention of fans, even as the shared baseball past between the U.S. and Cuba is being invoked throughout the trip. The different paths created for Cuban baseball players by the two countries’ complicated past will be on display during the ceremonial first pitch: Cuban-born Luis Tiant, who starred for years in the majors, will be joined by Pedro Luis Lazo, a pitching star who never left Cuba.

Read the full article here: http://www.sportingnews.com/mlb-news/4699325-barack-obama-cuba-rays-havana-major-league-baseball-mlb

Originally published: March 22, 2016. Last Updated: March 22, 2016.