Visa issues fixed, Cuban national baseball team set for faceoff against Ottawa Champions

Ottawa Champions player Alexander Malleta and Cuban national team player Raul Gonzalez have a friendly chat before a game in 2016 | James Park / Postmedia

Attention baseball fans, the Cuban national baseball team has cleared up its visa problems and will be in the capital against the Ottawa Champions this weekend.

The popular team’s three-game stand against the Champs at RCGT Park Friday, Saturday and Sunday kicks off a 15-game, 17-day series against Can Am league teams in Canada and the U.S.

The visit had been in doubt over the past few weeks due to what had been described as visa application slowdowns because of reduced staffing at the Canadian embassy in Havana.

The Cuban baseball visa applications were eventually processed out of Mexico City.

“(The Cuban visits have) always been one of the biggest series for our organization and I know our fans will appreciate the quality of baseball the Cuban team will bring,” Champions owner Miles Wolff said in a release Tuesday. Wolff had worked closely with the league and federal representatives in recent weeks to find a resolution to the problem.

The Cubans are treating the trip as a warmup for the Pan Am Games in Peru from July 26 to Aug. 11.

The games are also important to Ottawa for revenue purposes. In previous games in Ottawa, the powerful Cuban team has drawn an average 5,000 fans to RCGT Stadium — more than twice the Champions’ average attendance.

When the Cuban team last visited in 2017, the Champions even won both games in a two-game weekend series, 3-0 and 9-3.

Tickets purchased in advance for any of the Cuban games are at the regular price, but game day ticket prices will be $16 for adults, $13 for seniors and students and $5 for kids ages 5-12, Children five years old and younger get in free.

Source: National Post, slightly edited for this publication

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