Obama Cuba

The Tampa Bay Rays traveled to Cuba to play the Cuban National Team in Havana on Tuesday, as a symbol of the newly normalized relations between the United States and Cuba, and the pageantry was cooler than anyone really imagined. US President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro were both in attendance.

President Obama arrived at Estadio Latinoamericano shortly before first pitch and joyfully greeted Cuban president Raul Castro, Jackie Robinson’s widow Rachel, and shortstop-turned-Player’s-Tribune-editor Derek Jeter.

As lineups were announced, players on both teams came out of the dugout holding hands with Cuban children. A choir performed both the American and Cuban national anthems, and a flock of pigeons was released into the air (which was cooler than it sounds!). The Rays went over to Obama’s seat behind home plate to shake hands with the president, which Chris Archer took full advantage of, holding a lengthy conversation with Barack and Michelle.


Then the game started, with Cuban defector Dayron Varona leading off for Tampa and popping up the first pitch. Some time during the first inning, we got the real highlight of the afternoon, as Obama (and Castro) joined in on the wave. Obama — who was looking sharp in those shades — went full “awkward dad” mode, while Castro was more of an oblivious grandpa.


Love or hate the wave, love or hate the president, love or hate Cuba, this is all pretty cool.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports, MLB.com, SI.com and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.

Comments are closed.