BALTIMORE, Md. (WDVM) — March 26, 2020 was supposed to be Opening Day of Major League Baseball, with the Baltimore Orioles set to take on the New York Yankees at Camden Yards.
Unfortunately, it will be remembered in history as another major sporting event to fall victim to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
But this isn’t this first game that the O’s have had to re-schedule on this exact date.
On March 26, 1960, the Orioles were to play an exhibition game against the Cincinnati Reds in Havana, Cuba. Baltimore’s President at the time, Lee MacPhail, decided to move the game to Miami due to the political unrest from the Cuban Revolution.
During this time, minor league baseball was the only baseball being played in Cuba, most famously, by the Havana Sugar Kings, a triple A affiliate of the Reds that played in the International League.
Tensions between the United States and Cuba ran high, especially after Cuban Revolution leader Fidel Castro had nationalized all U.S. owned enterprises in Cuba. Ford Frick was then pressured to move the Sugar Kings out of Havana to Jersey City where the team became the Jersey City Jerseys. A year later, the team had folded and the franchise was bought and moved to Florida and became the Jacksonville Suns. In 1969, the team was moved once again, this time to Portsmouth, Virginia and were known as the Tidewater Tides.
That team is now the Norfolk Tides, the triple A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles.
In 1999, Baltimore continued to be cemented in Cuban baseball history when the club agreed to play an exhibition game against the Cuban national team that would take place in Havana, Cuba.
It was the first time a major league team had traveled in Cuba in 40 years. The game took place on March 28 and the Orioles won 3-2 in extra innings.
So even though there was no baseball played today, it is not unprecedented. And like before, there will be baseball again.