Cuba and U.S. renew baseball rivalry at Pam Am Games
By Frank Pingue
AJAX, Ontario (Reuters) - The United States and Cuba may have reached a deal to restore diplomatic ties but there was no sign of warming relations during their baseball clash at the Pan American Games on Sunday.
The preliminary round game, which the United States won 5-2, came less than two weeks after the countries formally agreed to restore diplomatic ties as of July 20, fulfilling a pledge made in December.
Games between the long-time baseball rivals always draw interest given the political hostilities and the fact Cuba has lost many prospects and top players who fled their country to seek contracts with U.S.-based Major League Baseball clubs.
"It goes back and ...it's becoming more and more pronounced and understandably so," U.S. manager Jim Tracy said about the rivalry.
"Obviously with the country of Cuba there are some pretty good players that have made their way over to the United States and playing in the major leagues.
"So they are trying to make a statement as to the type of baseball they play in their country and we are very, very proud of what we do.
"So that being said it's going to enhance the rivalry, there's no question about it."
Cuba have dominated baseball at the quadrennial games since the first tournament in 1951, winning 12 of the 16 titles, including every one between 1971 and 2007. Continued...