BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred remains hopeful that a big league team will play an exhibition game in Cuba during spring training next year.
President Barack Obama announced in December his intention to restore diplomatic ties between the United States and Cuba, and embassies were re-established in July.
”There are a variety of issues involved there, not all of which are wholly within baseball’s control,” Manfred said Tuesday at the general managers’ meetings.
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”Obviously, the federal government has some significant influence on whether that’s going to take place, and there are issues that need to be solved before that can happen.”
U.S. teams played spring training games in Cuba before Fidel Castro’s revolution but none appeared there from March 1959 until the Baltimore Orioles faced Cuba’s national team in Havana in March 1999. MLB has not returned since.
”We got a little time still. There isn’t really a firm cutoff,” Manfred said. ”We’re going to proceed internally and get to the point where we’ve sort of identified who would go, meaning which club would go if we can get it done. And one club maintaining flexibility with respect to a spring training date is a lot easier than 25 clubs maintaining that flexibility.”