Header Ban

Miami mayhem: historic Cuba game at Marlins Park was as messy as expected

The Cuba National Baseball team made its first visit ever to Miami, a city and surroundings with an estimated 1.2 million people of Cuban heritage. In usual circumstances, the atmosphere would be festive, and one of cultural celebration. But a complex political situation made that impossible.

To make things even more "on the nose", loanDepot Park, home of the Miami Marlins, is right in the middle of the neighborhood known as Little Havana.

Sports were not the focus at the WBC semifinal clash

The game ended in a beatdown by the US National Team, which quickly overtuned an early lead by Cuba to win 14-2, and punch a ticket for the 2023 World Baseball Classic final.

On the days leading up to the game, the WBC was reportedly banning all political signs and t-shirts from entering loanDepot Park. A few miles east, mayor Francis Suarez was telling citizens their right to protest inside the ballpark would not be infringed.

Security at the stadium was not consistent

The result was security confiscating most attendees' political signage and even forcing fans to flip their shirts inside out. Meanwhile, some fans were able to get their signs through. Including popular Cuban exile rapper Ovi, who excels on the national reggaeton scene.

The most popular shirt by street sellers before the game was undoubtedly those that read Patria y Vida, the slogan that become popular during Cuba's mass protests during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cuban rapper Ovi led the protests behind home plate

Ovi actually sat first row behind home plate, holding a massive sign which read: "Abajo el Comunismo! Abajo la Dictadura! Viva Cuba Libre!" (which in English translates to: Down with communism, down with the dictatorship, hurray for a free Cuba!) The rapper was seated next to more protestors, including a man with a crossed out Che Guevara shirt.

loanDepot Park security was also unable to intercept an on-field streaker holding a large cloth protest sign, who strutted down the outfield for almost 30 seconds. The message demanded freedom for Cuba's political prisoners.

A plane with a political message flew over the stadium

The mostly hostile crowd was not limited to those with tickets. As there was even someone who hired a plane with the following sign: "Freedom for Cuba! Abajo el Comunismo".

The World Baseball Classic made way for a scenario that was unthinkable for decades. Fidel Castro's takeover of the island occurred in 1959. While Castro died in 2016, the same political movement continues till this day. Team Cuba's visit to Miami was not a success by any means, and something we may not see again for a long time.

A banner is unfurled during the fourth inning of a World Baseball Classic game between Cuba and the U.S.

A banner is unfurled during the fourth inning of a World Baseball Classic game between Cuba and the U.S.

Adblock test (Why?)

No comments

Powered by Blogger.