Some Parallels Between President Obama’s Baseball and President Nixon’s Ping Pong
The exhibition game expected to be held on 22 March 2016 in the city of Havana between the Major League Baseball (MLB) team Tampa [Florida] Bay Rays, and the National Team of the Republic of Cuba, has symbolic routes and political overtones:
On 10 April 1971, the U.S. Table Tennis team visited the People’s Republic of China and then played in events which would become known as “ping pong diplomacy” as players from each country visited the other country. President Obama may attend a baseball game on the date that is approximately seventeen days short of the forty-fifth anniversary of the visit by the U.S. Table Tennis team to then-Peking (now Beijing).
President Obama’s visit the Republic of Cuba comes one month after the forty-fourth anniversary of the 21 February 1972 visit by President Richard Nixon to the People’s Republic of China.
The city of Tampa is seeking to be among the first grouping of locations for regularly-scheduled non-stop commercial airline service to the Republic of Cuba. The city of Tampa is also seeking to host a Consulate of the Government of the Republic of Cuba.
As of 2014, the areas within the United States with the highest number of individuals of Cuban descent are Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, Florida (1.1 million); New York-Newark-Jersey City (146,000); Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida (95,000); Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, California (50,000).