Locals see Havana baseball game as diplomacy

Posted at 5:59 PM, Mar 22, 2016

"It's politics. There's a lot of politics involved whether you agree with it or don't agree with it,” said Tampa native Angelo Spicola.

Politics and Baseball-- two American favorites played out in a communist country who considers Florida its northern" neighbor.

"It's politics for them too. They get to show the world that they drew the President of The United States down there for a game. It can't hurt anything,” said Spicola.

Angleo Spicola and Rex Rodriguez come to the West Tampa Sandwich Shop to talk. Today the talk was about our President in Cuba.

"They're opening up quite a bit of things yet on the same day that he arrives in Cuba, they're arresting 300 of the women in white. That's an embarrassment for Castro down there,” said Spicola.

But Spicola doesn't see Obama in Cuba as an embarrassment and neither does Rex Rodriguez.

"Just for capitalist reasons, it's a good thing to lift the embargo. If we just want to be stingy and look at our side but there are 12 million people over there that need to be lifted up,” said Rex Rodriguez.

Rodriguez's wife is Cuban and still lives on the island.

He's traveled there for work too and hopes to see business partnerships open up.

"It's also commercial with the United States. They can buy cheaper and they can buy more from the United States and Florida would benefit the most,” said Rodriguez.

Both agree the Havana baseball game is more than a game. They see it as another milestone in a tenuous but loosening relationship.

Politics and baseball-- two games these Tampanians will watch closely.

"Tampa has a connection with Cuba, with Havana, so baseball is a way now that they've found to create that,” said Spicola.