Rob Manfred hoping MLB can play exhibitions in Cuba next spring
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said he hopes the league can play some spring training games in Cuba in 2016, according to TSN.
Manfred told a meeting of the Associated Press Sports Editors on Thursday that he can "envision us" playing in Cuba and hopes that changes in federal policy occur in time to make it possible for next spring.
"I think that's the most likely starting place for us. We've made clear to the U.S. government that we are more than willing to play a role at a time that in their view is appropriate, and we think Cuba presents some really interesting possibilities for us going forward over the longer term," Manfred said.
President Barack Obama announced last December that the United States would change its relationship with Cuba and restore diplomatic relations for the first time in 50 years. Earlier this month, Obama announced he would remove Cuba from the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism.
On MLB's Opening Day this year, there were 74 players under contract with either major or minor league teams, according to TSN, up from 29 players in 2008.
The Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles reportedly explored the possibility of playing an exhibition game in Cuba earlier this spring, but did not end up doing so. The Orioles played Cuba's national team in an exhibition in Cuba back in 1999.
- Molly Geary