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Baseball: It’s More Than Just a Game

Source: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images South America

Barack Obama and Raul Castro shake hands with Tampa Bay Rays players before the game.Source: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images South America


On Tuesday afternoon, the great game of baseball shined bright yet again as the Major League Baseball Tampa Bay Rays took the field against the Cuban National Team, the first time a Major League Baseball has taken a field in Cuba since 1999.

Among the thousands of screaming fans in attendance at Estadio Latinoamericano in Havana was US President Barack Obama, Cuban President Raul Castro, Hall of Famers Dave Winfield and Joe Torre, MLBPA president Tony Clark, superstar Derek Jeter and who could forget, Jackie Robinson’s widow Rachel Robinson.

Havana is the site that Jackie Robinson played spring training games before his debut with the Dodgers in 1947.

The game was just an exhibition, but for two nations that have had their ups and downs for 50 years, it was much more.

Baseball has always been a mediator. The fact that a simple game with four bases, nine players, a ball and a bat can help heal a nation, give peace between nations and allow for people to come together as one is nothing short of sensational.

A head first slide into home by Rays’ outfielder Kevin Kiermaier in the top of the second inning giving the Rays a 1-0 lead resulted in a standing cheering President Obama, and a handshake of sincerity, and enjoyment between Obama and Castro. It was a baseball game, it was fun and it was a pastime that everyone can enjoy.

It’s amazing that a single fascinating sport can mean so much. A Mike Piazza home run in 2001 following the 9/11 attacks, a Jeter walk-off home run at midnight on the first of November, a stadium filled with people chanting U-S-A after hearing the news that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. All of it bringing people together.

Baseball has always given us a chance to relax, a chance to stop thinking about the harm and the unemployment. The tragedy and the sadness. Baseball gives us a chance not only to come together, smile and cheer, but also gives, as we just found out today a chance for the world to believe.

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