After months of ironing out the details, the Tampa Bay Rays are headed to Cuba.
The Rays will play a game March 22 against the Cuba National team in Havana’s Estadio Latinamericano. The game will coincide with a trip by President Barrack Obama to the island.
It will be the first game in Cuba by an American team since the Baltimore Orioles played the Cuban National team in 1999.
MLB not only seeks to play a symbolic role in the reopening of relations between the two countries for the first time since 1961. The league is also eyeing the longer-term goal of easing the often-dangerous path Cuban-born players take to reach the major leagues.
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said that “during a time of historic change, we appreciate the constructive role afforded by our shared passion for the game, and we look forward to experiencing Cuba’s storied baseball tradition and the passion of its many loyal fans.”