‘Cuban Yankee Stadium’ preparing to host Obama in 1st MLB-Cuba game since 1999

Workers with jackhammers broke up the damaged pavement outside, while painters hurried to brighten the exterior of the stadium where it is expected the Tampa Bay Rays and Cuba’s National Team will go head to head later in March.

On Tuesday, hundreds of workers could be seen scrambling throughout the sprawling Latin America Stadium, built in 1946, with a seating capacity of 55,000 spectators, making it ready for the big game.

They are fixing the roof, repairing damaged seating areas, and manicuring the field where the two teams will face off before a crowd of baseball-crazy Cuban fans.

Rumour has it both US President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro will attend the game, the first between an American baseball team and a Cuban team since the Baltimore Orioles beat Cuba 3-2 in Havana in 1999 during an exhibition match.

The game comes as American Major League baseball hopes to reopen ties with Cuban baseball, and begin pre-season games on the island by some major league baseball teams.

U.S. Major League baseball continues to attract talent from around the region, just last month 2 Cuban baseball stars defected to the U.S., joining dozens of others over the years.

For the Cuban government, normalising relations between the US and Cuban leagues could provide a way to stop the flow of talent from the island, protecting a national obsession, and giving talented Cuban players a chance to move up to the U.S. majors, while also playing in the home country.

Associated Press, Global News

March 1, 2016

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