Penn State baseball team to play against Cuba's national series in November

Posted: 28-Oct-15 09:28

A series of one-of-a-kind first ever baseball games are planned to soon be played out in Cuba as U.S. team Penn State travels to the island on 20th November 2015 to become the first American team to battle it out against Cuban National series teams. Playing in Havana first against the local favourite, Industriales and the moving on to face Pinar del Rio's team at their home stadium before finishing off with a last battle against Matanzas' team on 28th November. Truly an unprecedented event that will cause much uproar among Cuba's diehard baseball fans!

Penn State baseball team to play against Cuba's national series in November

It has everyone up in a flurry, and every excited baseball fan in Cuba lining up to secure tickets for four very special games as Penn State Baseball team are due to play it out against three different Cuban teams from Cuba’s national baseball series.

American baseball team from Penn State University (a.k.a the Nittany Lions) will soon be making history in Cuba as they become the first ever team from the United States to play against teams from the Cuban National Series. Not only will they be battling it out against teams from Cuba’s premier league but they will be doing it four times, in four different dates and with three different Cuban teams, the first of which, Industriales, could be considered the New York Yankees equivalent in Cuban baseball.

The first of these games will take place towards the end of next month as the Penn State players arrive in Havana on 21st November, ahead of their match scheduled for the next day in Havana’s Estadio Latinoamericano, the home of the city’s giants - Industriales. This opening game kicks off at 2 p.m. on Sunday 22ndt November in a legendary 55,000-seat stadium built in 1946. After this game it won’t be the last time these two teams see each other’s faces as they’re scheduled for another follow-up game three days later on 25th November at 10 a.m.

From here, the Nittany Lions will head around 100 miles west of the capital to face the team of Pinar del Rio on Friday, 27th November at 2 p.m. in the Estadio Capitan San Luis, much smaller yet charming, 8000-seat facility. The next day they will make their way towards the city of Matanzas (most famous for being home to the pristine Varadero beach) , at approximately 65 miles east of Havana to play a match against the local team on Saturday 28th November at 11 a.m. The place for this last battle will be the Victoria de Giron Stadium, closer in size to the one in Havana with a total of 30,000.

On top of all these games, student-athletes from Penn State will also be attending multiple lectures and cultural experiences arranged by Penn State’s partner institution in Cuba at the Centro de Estudios Martianos (Centre for Marti Studies) in Havana.

Rob Cooper, Penn State’s head coach said of the upcoming games:

"At this pivotal moment in U.S.-Cuba relations, our Penn State student-athletes will have the rare opportunity -- through competition, player-to-player engagement, and educational programming -- to experience first-hand the Cuban people’s passion for their national sport and learn about the history and culture of the country that produced some of the best baseball players in the world,"

Also taking place at the same time as the games, Penn State coaches Rob Cooper and Jamie Burleson will be invited to attend and participate at the seventh annual International Convention of Physical Activity and Sport (AFIDE).

Despite the fact that as soon as the Nittany Lions land in Cuba they’ll be playing on that very first day, educational encounters will take place before the games kick off, as the team will be meeting with various representatives from Cuba’s Federation of Baseball to learn about Cuba’s system of developing baseball on Sunday morning.

This will be followed by many other educational opportunities so that student athletes get a real feel of real Cuban daily life outside Havana’s tourist hotspots. On Thanksgiving Day, for example, they will be treated to a special visit from Yosvany Aragon, a former star of Cuba’s National Team, who will be present during a lesson on the history of sports in Cuba.

One of the few NCAA teams to compete in post-revolutionary Cuba, Penn State will no doubt be breaking barriers and writing history next month.


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