This summer, the Cuban National Team will be making the rounds, as it has been announced that the squad will play in a 19-game Can-Am League tour.
As the United States continues to ease its relations with Cuba, baseball has sought an opportunity to celebrate the shared love of the sport between the two countries. While this tour will not attract the same type of attention as the Tampa Bay Rays’ upcoming contest against the Cuban National Team at Havana’s Estadio Latinoamericano, it is significant nonetheless.
The Cuban National Team will be the first Cuban-based squad since the Havana Sugar Kings to play a professional team during the regular season game in a United States minor or independent league stadium. The Sugar Kings were members of the International League until midway through the 1960 campaign, when intensifying relations between the United States and Cuba forced the club to Jersey City. Since then, baseball in Cuba has been sanctioned as an amateur sport, with United States trips by the Cuban National Team being few a far between—the squad visited the Baltimore Orioles for an exhibition game in 1999, and has faced off against U.S.A. Baseball in Cary, NC in each of the past four summers.
The Can-Am League tour will start with a visit to the Quebec Capitales on June 9, making the first of appearances at all six Can-Am League Ballparks. Along with stops at the home ballparks of the Ottawa Champions and the Trois-Rivières Aigles, the Cuban National Team will visit the Can-Am League’s three United States’ teams: the Rockland Boulders, the New Jersey Jackals, and the Sussex County Miners.
Sussex County will be the first of the U.S. squads to host the Cuban National Team, as a three-game set at Skylands Stadium is set to being on June 21. The tour will end at the Jackals’ Yogi Berra Field on June 30, which will mark the conclusion of a three-game set.