MLB eyes 2016 spring training game in Cuba, Commissioner says it would be a good thing for baseball

By Money Times

Nov 12, 2015 10:15 PM EST

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred remains hopeful that a big league team will be at the exhibition game in Cuba next year. And the commissioner even expressed his high hope that the Major League Baseball team heading to Cuba would be a good thing for baseball. 

According to The Star, as President Obama announced his intention to reopen the relations between the US and Cuba, administration and M.L.B. officials have been in negotiations with Cuban officials on a number of issues. They even travelled to Cuba with all efforts to examine the baseball fields and other facilities to determine whether teams could play in Cuba during the spring training game. Manfred also claimed that "it would be a good thing for baseball." 

"There are a variety of issues involved there, not all of which are wholly within baseball's control," Manfred stated at the general managers' meetings via Yahoo! Sports. He added, "Obviously, the federal government has some significant influence on whether that's going to take place, and there are issues that need to be solved before that can happen. But I'd like to say yes to that."

In addition, M.L.B. also surveyed teams to assess whether they would be interested in heading  to the country. The Yankees and the Mets were among the teams that would consider going to Cuba, according to team officials. The Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles are also considered strong possibilities too.  "They asked if we were open to going, and we said we were open to going," revealed Dave Dombrowski, the Red Sox' president for baseball operations. He went on by saying, "We don't really know a lot other than that."

Previously, The Orioles played the Cuban national team in Havana in March 1999, which is the first time since 1959 that a major league team went to the country, as reported by The New York Times. And none of the other teams have traveled there so far. Before 1959, teams regularly go to Cuba to play the exhibition games during spring training.

Manfred also stressed that there was no deadline to arrange a trip. "We've got a little time still. There isn't really a firm cutoff. We're going to proceed internally and get to the point where we've sort of identified who would go," admitted by Manfred. He later on added, "One club maintaining flexibility with respect to a spring training date is a lot easier than 25 clubs maintaining that flexibility."

And although the commissioner talked about a lot of topics on his statement, one topic highlighted during the discussion is playing a spring training game in Cuba. Even though, it is not still clear that other teams would support the idea of travelling to Cuba for the exhibition games during the spring training, the officials still remained optimistic that heading to Cuba will bring great things in baseball.

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