Yes, I apologise to my British readers, for a second baseball related blog, but hey, this is as much about history, as it is about Baseball.
When I was a young child (I want to say girl, but strictly I wasnt, at that point, so lets go gender neutral), it looked quite possible that Russia, and the US were going to blow up the world with nuclear weapons, over a stand off over Cuba. As I was only 4 at the time, I didnt know much about it, but I gather it seemed inevitable at one point, but thankfully, it was averted.
But after that, officially at least, any kind of relations between the US, and Cuba, was pretty much zero. And yes, at that point, crossing the 100 miles between them, across the Gulf of Florida was pretty dangerous, to put it mildly. Yes, oceans are a lot more open than the Mediterranean Sea, that there is so much focus on now, and many, many, lost their lives, trying to cross it, to get to America.
Oh, one thing, if you think Americans are baseball crazy, you should see the Cubans! But what has happened, even more so in recent years, is that the better Cuban baseball players have been making the crossing, because of the money they could earn, in the Major League. And they become social pariahs at home, to put it mildly.
So tonight, whats happening? Well, Tampa Bay, of the Major League, are playing Cuba, in a pre season baseball game, in Havana! And the Presidents of both countries were at the game. Yes, thats how far things have moved in the last year, or less, in relations between the 2 countries.
So fine, the first bat of the game was pure irony, as it was one of those escapees from Cuba, that batted first for Tampa Bay. Lets say he wasnt deafened by the applause for him from the crowd, who probably see him as a traitor, but anyway…it happened! The cheer when he hit his first ball high into the air, and was caught, priceless!
To be fair, there has been less focus on the game than usual, from ESPN. Lots more interviews than normal, including Obama, but hey, this is special.
OK, for the video, lets look back on that dangerous scenario in 1962, after the failed Bay Of Pigs invasion, and everything else, and be grateful that we werent all nuked off the planet!