Cuba, US to resume friendly baseball games

March 21st, 2012 - 11:54 am ICT by IANS  

Havana, March 21 (IANS/EFE) Cuba and the US will resume in Havana in July an annual series of friendly baseball games that will serve to prepare both countries for international events.

The last friendly encounter between the two teams was in 1996.

The first series of five games will take place July 5-9 in the Latin American Stadium in Havana, and it is expected that in 2013 the Cuban national team will travel to the US for the next series.

The head of the Cuban Baseball Federation, Higinio Velez, and the president of USA Baseball, Paul Seilar, Tuesday in Havana signed a letter of intent to begin the games.

In a press conference, Seiler hailed the “resurrection” of the bilateral event and said that for the US squad Cuba is a “meter” for evaluating its performance.

The vice president of the International Baseball Federation, Cuba’s Antonio Castro, said that the talks with Seiler to resume the sports series began within the framework of the international organization’s meetings, adding that the series will be “a success”.

Castro, the son of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, emphasized that the meeting “is very important for US baseball” and its Cuban counterpart, and he emphasized that holding the series will be “fascinating” and “stimulating” for US players and fans.

Referring to the expectations of Cuban baseball, he said that it is “exciting” for the island that the point of departure on its road to prepare for the 2013 World Baseball Classic will be with a US team.

“Our baseball demands this type of confrontation, it demands playing at a higher level,” said Castro.

He said that Cuba was seeking “all possible formulas” so that its athletes “face quality baseball and raise their level, become more competitive each day and be able to provide greater happiness to our people”.

The Cuba-US series in July will also serve as preparation for Haarlem Baseball Week, set for later that month in the Netherlands, and in which both countries will participate.

–IANS/EFE
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