Baseball in Cuba
Karen Lee Wald, Playa Habana, Cuba
When the Baltimore Orioles played baseball in Cuba in March, the U.S. press spent a lot of time criticing Cuba for having Castro's "handpicked" audience. An American in Cuba responded: "I am really upset at all the political "points" US media have been making against Cuba... about the distribution of tickets An ESPN announcer snidely told his audience during the game that tickets were "invitation only, by decred of Fidel Castro"...
"Part of the problem is the Cubans didn't really explain, mistakenly assuming that everyone knows how things are done here. Thus they missed the chance to carefully explain that [it's a different way of doing things than letting] MONEY determine who gets to go to a ballgame (in the U.S. Superbowl tickets can go up to the thousands, a regular game is usually about $30). An Orioles manager pointed [this] out when an American journalist said that tickets are "distributed free" in the US. [He noted] that they are not "free"--they are very expensive ... In Cuba, when there is more demand than availability, everything is done to make sure that those things are distributed equitably. Tickets were therefore parceled out to trade unions, student groups, women's groups, etc.
"Given the size of the stadium and the tremendous interest in the game, letting hundreds of thousands or even millions of Cubans rush to the stadium in the hopes of buying tickets at the game would have not only created havoc at game time, but would have been unfair to the many who would have to have been turned away after travelling there and maybe waiting for hours.
"Cuba doesn't tell the Americans that they should let people in for free or a couple of pesos; the Americans shouldn't tell the Cubans how to arrange a fair distribution of tickets.
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