Cuban national team visits Atlantic Canada

Devon White (left) and Bill Lee (centre) served as Canadian ambassadors on the Cuban national team's recent tour through Atlantic Canada .  Photo Credit: amateursport.wordpress.com (2015 photo)

Devon White (left) and Bill Lee (centre) served as Canadian ambassadors on the Cuban national team's recent tour through Atlantic Canada .  Photo Credit: amateursport.wordpress.com (2015 photo)

By Danny Gallagher

Canadian Baseball Network

Red-brick asphalt, red cliffs, red Atlantic Ocean water, red soil for growing potatoes, all in Prince Edward Island.

Red as in Canada. Very powerful scenes.

The Flower Pots landscape and mud fields of the Bay of Fundy where tides are the highest in the world.

The terrific scenery along the Cabot Trail.

The board walks in Charlottetown and Summerside, P.E.I.

The impressive Halifax Harbour.

The rugged beauty of Peggy's Cove.

They're all Canadiana as you will ever find in this fine country as my wife and I discovered recently.

As a result of our trip, we can say we have touched foot in nine of our 10 provinces. Newfoundland will be a fly-and-drive event sometime down the road.

It's great timing to see former Expos pitcher Bill Lee as a quasi-general of the Cuban national baseball team's goodwill tour of the Maritimes and other provinces.

As a CBC report indicated several days ago, Lee is an ambassador and Blue Jays great Devon White is helping out as a coach and ambassador along with a number of others. The Cubans visited Peggy's Cove a few days ago just like my wife and I did.

"We've had 12 teams over the last two years go to Matanzas and Holguin, Cuba," tour organizer Dennis Woodworth told the CBC.

"This is a very special moment for 23 individuals that live there because now we've brought them here to Atlantic Canada to show them our culture and our way of living."

Over the years, Nova Scotian teams have delivered lots of equipment and other supplies to their Cuban counterparts. Today, they were able to bond over their mutual love of baseball over a few games. 

"Everyone is so happy they're here," said Yosel Vazquez, the team's translator and coordinator.

"We're meeting families that have been incredibly nice to us, very humble and hospitable, so we feel great here." 

Said White; "I've been down to Cuba and I've seen how underprivileged they are. I've also seen some amazing things with the kids that play there. We've taken equipment down and now they have the opportunity to come up and basically enjoy what we have enjoyed all our lives."

 

 

Danny Gallagher

Danny was born in Ted Lindsay's hometown of Renfrew, Ont. but his roots are in nearby Douglas. He played 27 consecutive seasons of top-level amateur baseball in the senior ranks in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Quebec and thrived on organizing events himself, the major one being the highly successful 1983 Canadian senior men's tournament in Sudbury. He began covering the Montreal Expos in 1988 when he joined the Montreal Daily News. Later, he was the Expos beat writer for the Ottawa Sun and Associated Press. He has written four baseball books, including Remembering the Montreal Expos, which he co-authored with Bill Young of Hudson, Que. Gallagher and Young are currently working on a book about the ill-fated 1994 Expos squad. Gallagher can be reached here: dannogallagher@rogers.com