The Cuba Team
Photo courtesy of The Friendship Games
This month, senior Cuban softball players will touch down in Boston to compete in The Friendship Games against senior athletes from the EMASS League and the Bay State Association.
“We have won some games down there,” said Glenn Shambroom of Natick, in a press release. “But they have won more. They are great players, and it’s very tough to win on their home field. We’re ready for a very competitive series in Boston.”
American players will host their Cuban teammates while they visit – returning a favor to the Cubans, who have hosted Americans at their homes.
“We don’t all speak each other’s language, but we all love baseball, and we have such great times after the games,” said Gary Siegel, of Needham, in the release.
“They invited us to their homes for dinner, had an enormous pig roast for us, and did everything imaginable to be welcoming hosts. We are looking forward to repaying their amazing hospitality.”
The Cuban team will head to Fenway Park with its American counterparts from the EMASS Teams on Aug. 25, before the Red Sox v. Kansas City Royals game at Fenway Park, where Cuban shortstop Tony Gonzalez will throw the first pitch.
The Friendship Games will kick off with an Opening Ceremony on Sunday, Aug. 26 at 3:45 at the Robert Cusick Field in Boston Commons. During the ceremony, participants will take a moment of silence to honor heavy weight Cuban boxer Teofilo Stevenson, who won three Olympic gold medals and served as honorary captain of the Cuban softball team until his passing in June.
The double-header Cuba v. USA game will start at 4 p.m. It is free and open to the public.
Cuban players include Tony Gonzales, considered the greatest fielding shortstop in Cuban baseball history; Reinaldo Linares, 1967 MVP of the Cuban National Series; Carlos Cepero, coach of the Cuban National Team in the World Baseball Classic in 2009; and Armanda Aguilar, a member of the International Softball Hall of Fame.
The Friendship Games are sponsored by Educational Travel Alliance, Mass Humanities, Grand Circle Foundation, Boston Sports Club of West Newton and Clark Shoes.
The Cuban team will be in the Boston area from Aug. 23 through 30.
A full itinerary, courtesy of Educational Travel Alliance, is below.
Friday August 24:
9:30 Players meet at Harvard Faculty Club, 20 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA. There will be a walk around the Harvard Campus.
10:30: There will be a welcome talk at Harvard University given by Professor Jorge Dominguez, followed by lunch at the Harvard Faculty Club.
2:30 After lunch, proceed to Cochituate Field in Wayland for practice and pick up games, starting at 3:00,
6: 30 Welcome Barbecue in Holliston at the home of Gary Buxton, 1803 Washington Street Holliston, MA 01746. Guests are requested to bring their own beverages.
Saturday August 25:
9:30 Pick-up games at Jamaica Pond Pinebank Baseball Field, Corner of Jamaicaway and Perkins Street, Jamaica Plain.
5:45 and not a minute later, Gary Siegel, Glenn Shambroom, Rich Morris, Tom McColl, Jesse Lipcon, David Kern, Mike Frank, Wally Introne, Louise Felton, Gary Buxton, Larry Costello, James Rice, and Mike Eizenberg meet at Gate E on Landsdowne Street, where an ambassador from the Red Sox will accompany us to the Green Room prior to our being led onto the field. Be sure to wear tournament uniforms, and perhaps bring a change of clothes
6:45 - Everyone coming to the game is requested to be seated, and ready for the first pitch, which will be thrown by Tony Gonzalez.
Sunday August 26:
3:00 All players assigned to the Sunday Game meet for Warm -Ups at the Robert Cusick Field, Boston Common, Corner of Charles and Boylston Street in Boston.
3:30 Musicians Arrive
3:45 Opening Ceremony Begins. The National Anthems of Cuba and the USA are played, and a special guest throws out the Ceremonial First Pitch.
Monday August 27
10:00 Players Assemble for Duck Boat Tour at the Prudential Center.
11:30 Duck Boat Tour ends, and general exploration of Boston Begins
4:30: A presentation by Professor Ruben Stern about the US Political System at the Latino Center at Tufts University, 226 College Ave, Medford, MA
Tuesday August 28
2:30 All Players assigned to the Tuesday game meet at Cochituate Field, Wayland.
3:00. Friendship Games (2)
Wednesday August 29
10:30 Cuban Players plus Mike Eizenberg, Gary Buxton, Larry Swartz, and Glenn Shambroom meet at Cochituate Field
11:00 Game 1 in Bay State Tournament
1:00 Game 2 in Bay State Tournament
6:30 Farewell Dinner for Hosts and those who signed up. Place to be announced.
Evan Allen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
JG: WOW! It will definitely be a lot of fun!