It has been great fun to watch President Obama in Cuba (and to get to say things like–hey, I was there!) over the last two days. The one thing we did not get to do on our trip was attend a baseball game since we were rained out twice. Sigh. But we did talk about the potential impact of baseball exchanges on the economy and there is no question that both Cuban baseball and Major League Baseball will have much to discuss as the thaw continues. Funnily, I was interviewed on Monday by a Swiss journalist–newspaper article here–about the impact of baseball based on my 2001 article called Baseball Diplomacy examining the controversy back then over the Baltimore Orioles playing a game in Cuba in 1999. In what now seems like ancient history, I wrote about the Elian Gonzales affair, the Helms-Burton act, and, more pertinently to baseball, the economics of playing baseball in Cuba. I also discussed how Cuban players are treated when they arrive in the U.S. depending on whether they come directly or via a third country. I imagine that all of these rules will be updated and changing in the next few years. And it will be fascinating to watch. Here’s looking forward to more baseball in both directions!
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