The day has arrived for the exhibition game in Cuba between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban National Team.
Estadio Latinoamericano will host today’s game, which is fitting, given that it’s perhaps the most historic baseball venue in Cuba. First opening in 1946, Estadio Latinoamericano boasts the claim as the largest ballpark in Cuba and is home to Los Industriales, which has won a record 12 Cuban National Series titles. It was also home to Cuba’s last Minor League Baseball franchise—the Havana Sugar Kings (Class AAA; International League)—and has hosted numerous major league teams in the past, including the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Pittsburgh Pirates for spring training in 1947 and 1953, respectively, and the Baltimore Orioles for an exhibition game against the Cuban National Team in 1999.
In anticipation of today’s game, Estadio Lantinoamericano received several upgrades. The playing surface was overhauled, while the dugouts were rebuilt and the grandstand roof was replaced.
Fans can see Estadio Lantinoamericano in action today at 2:05 EST, as the game between the Rays and the Cuban National Team will be broadcast on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, and can be streamed through WatchESPN. Before watching the game, however, learn more about baseball in Cuba through John Moist’s Cuban ballpark tour from 2011, when he visted Estadio Lantinoamericano and several other historic venues.
Aside from showcasing one of Cuba’s most venerable ballparks, today’s game is a major part of President Barrack Obama’s visit to the country. Obama, who in the process of attempting to ease relations with Cuba is the first sitting president to visit the country in 88 years, will be on hand for this game.
Photo of Estadio Latinoamericano courtesy of John Moist.