Rays Win Lottery for Possible Exhibition Game in Cuba

B99243678Z.1_20150215192623_000_GI2EN7H5.1-0I initially became aware of this thanks to our old friends at the Site Formerly Known As HBT. MLB.com confirms that there may be an exhibition game in Cuba this spring, and if that game happens, the winners in the lottery to play the game are the Tampa Bay Rays. The Tampa Bay area is well known for its Cuban heritage–we can share cigars and Cuban sandwiches. The Rays would play the Cuban National Team if negotiations can be worked out. The Cuban National Team is totally going to kick the Rays’ collective asses. Do sting rays have an ass? It’s rather flat. Of course, they excrete, but can it be called an ass? I digress. Too much coffee. My apologies.

Other teams expressed interest in the exhibition game, including the Yankees, Mets, and Dodgers. Manfred, in his great wisdom, decided the fairest thing to do was a lottery. Manfred has made “improving MLB’s relationship with Cuba one of his top priorities,” in other words, making more money and taking all their players. I mean, spreading the game and goodwill towards mankind–all that good stuff.

I suppose it’s a good opportunity to scout out the Cuban team. I hope they can come back with a few players. The Rays can use the offense. In all seriousness, if this actually happens, I would love to make the trip. Visiting Cuba is one of the things I must do before I leave this earth, and this seems like the perfect opportunity.

9 thoughts on “Rays Win Lottery for Possible Exhibition Game in Cuba

  1. If you can work it so that you can go, you should. I’ve been here twice. Once pre-Castro, as a child, and once on a fishing trip. While I don’t really remember much about the first trip, the second showed me how warm and friendly the average Cubans are.

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  2. I’m kind of surprised to the the Orioles weren’t involved since they went there in 1999. Maybe they don’t have interest. Maybe MLB is still pissed about the MASN thing. I mean they already screwed us out of an All-Star game. Maybe Angelos figured he already did his part and it’s someone else’s turn.

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  3. I’m planning to go in the spring to check out some historic jazz haunts, to see what the great, legendary progressive jazz band Irakere has spawned amongst the succeeding generations of Cuban jazz musicians:

    Before he moved to Los Angeles, expat jazz great Arturo Sandoval, co-leader of Irakere along with Paquito de Rivera, Chucho Valdez and Carlos Averhoff, and his drummer, Ernesto Simpson, used to play with the jazz MFA students from El Universidad de Macondo on Tuesday evenings at The Titanic (yeah, hokey themed restaurant to the max) adjacent to school. Arturo, best known for his trumpet playing, is also a wonderful pianist and nearly always played that instrument as part of a rhythm section with Ernesto. He really played the hell out of it – salsa from the fourth dimension. If anyone’s interested, he released an album some years back called My Passion for the Piano:

    I got to know Arturo pretty cordially during those sessions, which I never missed, and we used to sit at the bar talking about jazz and….beisbol. It is not well known but Arturo played semi-professional ball in Cuba and still dearly loves the game. He played the Star Spangled Boner before one of the home games of the 2003 World Series but even he couldn’t save that musical teratogen.

    He will tell you candidly that he was a marginal player, so the limits the state sponsored musician’s union put on his time in the game was no big deal – he was a budding musical star and the union had plans for Irakere that seemed more important than his beisbol. He was, however, full of great stories about playing with some of the then-stars of the Island’s various leagues and some of the great teams of his own day.

    I was wondering, when I heard about the hopefully upcoming match, what he must be thinking right now.

    Liked by 3 people

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