Yesterday, the Ottawa Champions (sort of) announced that they will be hosting a three-game series against the Cuban National Baseball Team at RCGT Park from June 17-19, in what will undoubtedly be one of the most interesting baseball weekends in Ottawa in recent memory.
The “official” announcement will be made at a news conference tomorrow, March 2nd, 11am at the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame, otherwise known as “that old building beside City Hall.”
In attendance to make remarks will be Mayor Jim Watson (because of course), Can-Am League Commissioner (and Champions owner) Miles Wolff, Champions President David Gourlay, and Federacion Cubana de Beisbol President Heriberto Suarez.
This exhibition series is significant for several reasons, first and foremost because Cuba’s national baseball team is ranked #3 in the world as of September 2015, meaning baseball fans in Ottawa should expect to see some incredibly talented international players in town.
Consider some of the Cubans who recently defected from their home country to play in Major League Baseball and have achieved success; the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig ($42m/7yr contract), the White Sox’s Jose Abreu (.303 career batting avg.), the Yankees’ Aroldis Chapman ($11.3m/yr contract), and the Mets’ Yoenis Cespedes ($75m/3yr contract), who was paid handsomely enough to drive a new car to Spring Training every day last week.
Cespedes also just spent $7,000 on a county fair prize winning pig to roast for dinner. Seriously. You don’t make that kind of money without being really, really good.
And this is just a few of the players currently being paid big bucks by MLB teams–there are plenty of Cuban baseball players out there who have achieved a lot of success in North America.
With the amount of talent Cuba has pumped into the Major Leagues you can already sense that the Cuban National Team coming to Ottawa will be extremely talented, and eager to show off their skill to North American scouts. Also, with the United States and Cuba beginning the process of re-establishing diplomatic relations, it likely won’t be long until even more Cubans begin looking to North America to ply their trade and get PAID in the process.
All that to say, keep your eyes peeled on social media and to OttawaSports.ca for the latest on tomorrow’s big announcement.
Note: Ottawa Champions single game tickets are on sale now, including for the series against the Cuban National Team and the returning Shikoku Island Japanese League All-Stars, and they can be purchased here.