The New York Yankees have their eyes on playing a spring training this March in Havana. They have made it known to Major League Baseball that a trip to Cuba would be something of great interest to them.
Last Tuesday at the General Managers meetings in Boca Raton, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred was hopeful that as soon as this spring there would be baseball in Cuba. A series of spring training games in Havana could happen this March and Manfred said it would be a good thing for baseball.
As you might expect there are no shortage of teams interested in playing some exhibition games in Havana. At least besides the Yankees, the Baltimore Orioles who were the last team to play in Cuba back in 1999 want to return to the island,
TheBoston Red Sox and New York Mets have also let it be known to MLB officials that they would be willing to play games in Cuba this spring.
There are a variety of issues involved there, not all of which are wholly within baseballs control, Manfred said Tuesday at press conference. Obviously, the federal government has some significant influence on whether thats going to take place, and there are issues that need to be solved before that can happen. But Id like to say yes to that.
According to ESPN, Antonio Castro, vice president of Cuba’s International Baseball Federation, said Thursday that the advent of a new relationship with Major League Baseball could have ramifications beyond the current goodwill tour of the island by major league dignitaries and All-Star players.
No deadline has yet been set but there is a real possibility that there will be games in Cuba this spring.
Ever since President Obama announced the easing of the relationship between U.S. and Cuba a year ago Thursday, it’s been a countdown to the day when traveling to the island nation becomes as easy as any other international travel. That would be a key indication baseball could return to Cuba this spring.
The two countries agreed late Wednesday on a deal to allow U.S. commercial airlines to operate 110 scheduled flights a day. While it will likely take months before the first commercial flight to Havana, the reestablishment of regular air travel to Cuba after half a century will almost certainly be the biggest business development since the two countries began normalizing relations last year and open up MLB games in Cuba sooner than later.
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James Williams, sportstalkflorida.com
December 27, 2015