Obama & Castro Doing the Wave, and Other Things That Happened at the Tampa Bay Rays-Cuba Game

Lead Photo: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
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Yesterday, Barack Obama, Raúl Castro, and the rest of Havana’s Estadio Latinoamericano bore witness to the first visit by an MLB team to Cuba since 1999: a 4-1 win for the Tampa Bay Rays over the Cuban National Team.

James Loney homered and drove in three runs, and Matt Moore and the Rays’ staff shut out the home side until Rudy Reyes’ ninth-inning homer, but this was much more than a mere exhibition match (for superb pieces on the role of baseball in U.S.-Cuba relations check this article in The Atlantic and this Sporting News piece). This was what many hope to be the jumping-off point for MLB’s new long-term role in Cuban baseball development. What this role will look like and how effective it will be at creating safer passages for Cuban player abroad remain to be seen, but we are hopeful.

In the meantime, here are some highlights from a historic day of baseball diplomacy, and watch the full stream here:


The crowd of 55,000 gathered


Obama coming in hot with that cool handshake with Derek Jeter to get things underway.


Dem babies


Pedro Lazo and Luis Tiant throwing out the opening pitches.


Obama and Raúl doing the wave with the rest of the crowd…


POTUS getting into it.


He even had a lil’ time to tease the First Lady.


And, of course, the moment you might need to sit with for a while: