President Obama explained why he changed the rules to allow Cuban players to join American teams, without having to denounce their Cuban citizenship.
His statement came the day before he accompanies Cuban Dictator Raul Castro to a baseball game between the Cuban National Team and the Tampa Bay Rays in Havana.
“Cuba first of all has incredible talent,” Obama told ABC News when asked why he made the rule change. “But more importantly, baseball is one of those things that binds these two countries together.”
Obama claims that Cuba may be the only country which takes their baseball even “more passionately” than Americans. He expects that the new rule will save Cuban players from taking “dangerous paths” and abandoning their families to play in the Major Leagues.
Reflecting on a story he heard on ESPN’s Sports Center about Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu, who defected from Cuba and as a result hadn’t seen his son in several years, Obama said, “That can’t be the kind of policies we want to promote.” He added, “My hope is this just becomes one more part of the stitching back together of the United States and Cuba.”
Ironically, Obama neglects to point out—or fails to see—the 29-year old infielder from Cienfuegos severed ties with his family because of rules imposed by Cuba, not the United States which never promoted devastating policies preventing families to reunite.