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ORIOLES FALL TO CUBA AS PROTESTORS TAKE TO THE FIELD
Published May 4, 1999
The Cuban National Team defeated the Orioles 12-6 in front of 47,940 last night at Camden Yards. The game game was delayed almost an hour in the first inning due to rain and saw demonstrations inside and outside the ballpark, including incidents in the fourth and fifth innings in which protestors ran onto the field. In DC, Richard Justice writes that the event took on a "block-party atmosphere that had everything from mini-festivals and salsa music to politics and protestors" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/4). The large contingency of Cuban fans apparently caught stadium vendors off-guard, as "all things Cuban or related to the game were sold out before the end of the first inning at most concession stands" (USA TODAY, 5/4). About 600 media credentials were issued for members of 10 countries, including Japan, France and Sweden (USA TODAY, 5/4). MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said that four teams have already inquired about playing a Cuban team next season (DETROIT NEWS, 5/4). FSN's Keith Olbermann: "Yeah, Bud, but EIGHT teams have asked about getting the opportunity to play the ORIOLES next" ("Fox Sports News," FSN, 5/3). DEMONSTRATIONS: Five protestors were arrested in the fourth and fifth innings for trespassing, including one who was "body-slammed" by Cuban umpire Cesar Valdez while carrying a sign that read, "Freedom! Strike Out Castro!" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 5/4). Valdez, describing his actions against the fan: "Above all I am Cuban, and I don't have any reason for standing a lack of respect" (SUN, 5/4). REAX: Orioles CF Brady Anderson: "We didn't want to play today. We would have preferred the day off" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/4). In Baltimore, Peter Schmuck called the game "a minor disaster and a major blowout" (SUN, 5/4). In DC, Thomas Boswell: "Was this the most embarrassing defeat in the history of U.S. baseball?" (WASH. POST, 5/4).