ISLA DE MARGARITA, Venezuela -- Members of Cuba's baseball delegation made history at the Caribbean Series before a pitch was even thrown in Saturday's night game between Mexico's Naranjeros de Hermosillo and Cuba's Villa Clara.
Less than an hour before the start of the nightcap, Villa Clara manager Ramón Moré addressed a group of reporters covering the Caribbean Series in an impromptu press conference in a tent near the concourse. The meeting marked the first time a manager from Cuba has had the opportunity to speak to media at the Caribbean Series since 1960, when the country last participated in the annual tournament.
Villa Clara is participating in this year's event as a special guest.
"We've come with a lot of desire to be a part of this spectacular event," Moré said. "For us, it's a great responsibility and honor to represent our country in the Caribbean Series for the first time in over 50 years.
"It's a tremendous honor that the Cuban League has allowed for us to be here," he added. "We won our title, and we have the rare responsibility to be here. We have the best intentions, but you can lose or you can win. The whole world knows how a game begins, but nobody knows how it is going to end. "
An original member of the Caribbean Confederation along with Panama, Puerto Rico and Venezuela, Cuba won seven titles starting in 1949. Fidel Castro took power in 1959 and ended the country's participation in the event after 1960.
"We have an invitation for next year's Caribbean Series in Puerto Rico, and I think it's important for Cuba to be back in the Caribbean Series," Moré said.
Because the United States, which includes the U.S Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, has an economic embargo against Cuba, Cuban teams that participate in the Caribbean Series are not paid and cannot receive awards.
Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.