The Slow-Pitch Ambassadors to Cuba
In mid-November 2011, two teams of American softball players (23 athletes in total) played seven games against Cuban squads in the Communist island nation. The ceremonial first pitches were thrown by John Caufield, America’s top envoy in Cuba, and Gerardo Hernández, a deputy of the Cuban National Assembly. A first project had been launched in 1999, when the two nations engaged in a professional baseball exchange.
The latest inititiave – the softball competition – cannot be compared with the ping-pong diplomacy which occurred in the 1970s. Actually, the low level of the players did not lead to an intense mediatisation of the event. Nevertheless, the competition contributed to raise feelings of friendship between citizens from both states.