Thursday, March 31

A Southpaw in Havana

W: 1999 Baltimore Orioles – Cuban national baseball team exhibition series
"In 1947, the soon-to-be dynastic Brooklyn Dodgers moved their spring training camp to Havana, Cuba. As a venue, it made good sense—Havana offered warm winter weather and stellar baseball facilities. But what made Havana most attractive was its isolation; Jackie Robinson, recently promoted from the minors, was just weeks away from breaking American professional baseball’s color barrier, and Branch Rickey, the team’s president and general manager, sought to shield the outfielder from untoward attention as he trained with the team. ... Last Sunday, nearly 70 springs and an embargo later, when Barack Obama, the No. 42 of American presidential politics, boarded Air Force One for his historic sojourn to Cuba, he did so with two guests of honor—Rachel and Sharon Robinson, the widow and daughter of Jackie. The symbolism wasn’t subtle: The Robinsons and the Obamas embody the cause and effect of the effacing of generations-old biases. Or, failing all of that, the United States and Cuba share a historic love of baseball. ..."
The Atlantic: A Southpaw in Havana
NY Times: This Cuban Defector Changed Baseball. Nobody Remembers.
CNN: Obama engages in baseball diplomacy in Cuba (Video)
W - Baseball in Cuba
PBS: Stealing Home
ESPN: "Cuba has to budge"
Vanity Fair: Commie Ball: A Journey to the End of a Revolution (2008)
The Economist: Cuban baseball crisis
The Atlantic: Cuban Baseball (1984)
Inside MLB's Cuban Pipeline: It's High-Risk, High-Reward (2014)
The New Golden Age of Cuban Baseball in MLB
W - Cuban League
amazon: The Pride of Havana: A History of Cuban Baseball, Smoke: The Romance and Lore of Cuban Baseball, A History of Cuban Baseball, 1864-2006, Havana Hardball, Pitching Around Fidel, The Quality of Home Runs: The Passion, Politics, and Language of Cuban Baseball