With the United States recently improving diplomatic relations with Cuba, the Orioles are reportedly interested in playing an exhibition game in the country for the first time in 16 years.
According to ESPN, the Orioles and the Boston Red Sox have both expressed a desire to play in Cuba, but it appears unlikely that it will happen this spring as Major League Baseball is still trying to sort out what the nations’ improved relations will mean for the sport. President Barack Obama announced late last year that the United States would restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba and open an embassy in Havana.
Of course, owner Peter Angelos helped orchestrate a two-game exhibition with the Cuban All-Star team in 1999, which included the Orioles playing a game in Cuba in late March as well as hosting an exhibition contest against the Cubans at Camden Yards in May of that same season. Coordinating a trip this time around wouldn’t figure to be nearly as challenging with travel regulations already being eased by the U.S.
The Orioles won the first game in Cuba before the visitors prevailed in the second contest played in Baltimore. It was the first time in four decades that a major league team had played a game in Cuba.
Under current executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette, the Orioles have tapped into Cuba’s baseball talent over the last few seasons, most notably signing outfielders Henry Urrutia and Dariel Alvarez along with a couple others.