Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

All Eyes photo gallery: Tampa Bay Rays play Cuban National Team in Havana

It was far from a typical baseball game. The Tampa Bay Rays had traveled to Havana, Cuba, to play a historic exhibition game Tuesday against the Cuban National Team.

Behind home plate in Estadio Latinoamericano, President Barack Obama and his family were sitting with Cuba's president, Raul Castro. Obama is the first sitting U.S. president to travel to Cuba in 88 years.

RELATED COVERAGE: In Cuba, Rays baseball builds relationships and memories

The Rays were the first major league team to play in Cuba since the Baltimore Orioles in 1999.

And one of the players, Cuban-born teammate Dayron Varona, had made an emotional reunion with family members two days earlier.

The Rays won, 4-1, but it's not the victory that will remain in their memories, and the memories of those who watched, for years to come.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Children who will participate in the pregame festivities wait for the start the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban National Team.

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Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer throws hats into the crowd before the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban National Team in Estadio Latinoamericano in Havana, Cuba on Tuesday.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Rays pitcher Chris Archer shakes hands with President Barack Obama before the game.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Logan Morrison shakes hands with President Barack Obama before the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban National Team.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters stand along with Cuban President Raul Castro for a moment of silence for the victims of Tuesday's terror attacks in Belgium before the start of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban National Team in Estadio Latinoamericano in Havana, Cuba.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier warms up before the game.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Chris Archer talks with first lady Michelle Obama before the start of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban National Team.

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Tampa Bay Rays players stretch before the game.

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Right fielder Steven Souza Jr. and second baseman Tim Beckham take a selfie in front of the crowd before the game.

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Relief pitcher Chase Whitley signs autographs for fans before the game.

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Tampa Bay Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman talk on the field before the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban National Team.

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Fans wave flags in the stands before the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban National Team in Estadio Latinoamericano in Havana, Cuba on Tuesday.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash runs in the outfield before the start of the game.

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Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria watches the Cuban National Team warm up before the game.

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Fans in the outfield wait for the start of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban National Team in Estadio Latinoamericano.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Dayron Varona, who is from Cuba, runs back to the dugout after hitting a fly ball to start the game.

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Rays shortstop Brad Miller waits on deck in the fifth inning of the game.

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Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Matt Moore throws in the fifth inning of the game between the Rays and the Cuban National Team in Estadio Latinoamericano.

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Pitcher Chris Archer shakes hands with members of the Cuban National Team after the game.

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Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria exchanges hats with a member of the Cuban National team after the game.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Center fielder Dayron Varona hugs members of the Cuban National Team after the game.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Tampa Bay Rays players line up to high five after winning the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban National Team 4-1 in Estadio Latinoamericano in Havana, Cuba on Tuesday.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Rays first base coach Rocco Baldelli exchanges jerseys with members of the Cuban National Team coaching staff after the game.

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Tampa Bay Rays left fielder Desmond Jennings exchanges jerseys with members of the Cuban National Team after the game.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Rays center fielder Dayron Varona jumps into the arms of a member of the Cuban National Team after the game.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Fans cheer from the stands during the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban National Team in Estadio Latinoamericano in Havana, Cuba on Tuesday. The Rays won 4-1.

Information from Times staff writer Marc Topkin was included in this report.

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