On the tail end of the 2012 Summer Olympics, JP will play host to an international sporting event of its own.
And this isn't just any international sporting event ... it's the first of its kind in more than 50 years.
On Saturday, Aug. 25, senior Cuban softball players will play pick-up games at the Pond's Pinebank field. The games start at 9:30 a.m.
The Cubans will also be at Wayland's , Friday, Aug. 24, as part of a larger itinerary that includes playing in a series of Friendship Games in the Boston area during an Aug. 23-30 trip.
According to a press release, for the first time in more than 50 years, the U.S and Cuban governments have granted permission for Cuban players to travel to the United States for the games, which have only taken place in Cuba for the past several years.
Senior athletes from the Eastern Massachusetts Senior Softball Association and the Bay State Association will play against the Cuban team, which, according to the press release, will include such celebrated athletes as Tony Gonzales, considered the greatest fielding shortstop in Cuban baseball history; Reinaldo Linares, MVP of the Cuban National Series in 1967; Carlos Cepero, coach of the Cuban National Team in the 2009 World Baseball Classic; and Armando Aguilar, member of the International Softball Hall of Fame.
EMASS players first played in Havanna, Cuba, in 2009, the press release reads. Ten EMASS teams have played in Havanna in the past three years, but 2012 marks the first time a Cuban team has been permitted to travel to the U.S. for the games.
“We have won some games down there,” said Glenn Shambroom in the press release, “but they have won more. They are great players, and it’s very tough to win on their home field. We’re ready for a very competitive series here in Boston.”
The players arrive in the U.S. on Aug. 23, and will be staying in the homes of local players.
Their itinerary includes some sight-seeing and talks, but the focus is certainly on playing ball.
The Friendship Games will take kick off on Sunday, Aug. 26, at the Robert Cusick Field on Boston Common. The opening ceremony will begin at 3:45 p.m., with the double-header of Cuba vs. USA beginning at 4 p.m.
Admission is free and the public is invited.
The entire schedule of the Aug. 23-30 visit is attached as a PDF.