ESPN’s Bob Ley was in Havana on Tuesday as part of the network’s coverage of a baseball game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team.
His report was interrupted by a political demonstration, as Cork Gaines of Business Insider shared on YouTube:
Kenny Ducey of Sports Illustrated noted the visible protester was arrested in the aftermath of his demonstration that saw him throw paper into the air and yell into the camera. Matt Mullin of PhillyVoice.com pointed to the differences in reactions from Ley on the street where it was happening and broadcaster Doug Glanville in the booth:
Ley's report came after the Rays beat the Cuban national team, 4-1, with United States President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro in attendance.
According to ESPN.com, it was the first time a Major League Baseball team visited Cuba since the Baltimore Orioles did so in spring training in 1999. Tampa Bay’s visit Tuesday was about much more than the shared love of baseball between the two countries, as the United States and Cuba are attempting “to set aside more than 50 years of Cold War hostility,” as Peter Osri of the Associated Press put it.
The fans in attendance at the game greeted both Obama and Castro with loud applause, and the two presidents sat next to each other for the opening innings before departing.
ESPN.com described the pageantry of the contest that featured music, dancers, children escorted by the players during introductions, a flock of doves released from the outfield stands and a chorus that sang the national anthems of both nations.
Interestingly, especially in context with the demonstration that interrupted Ley’s report, ESPN.com reported the tickets were free and given out through various organizations, including student groups and workplaces. As a result, “that essentially assured a well-behaved crowd with no government opponents around to protest,” per ESPN.com.
While there weren’t any demonstrations or political movements that overshadowed the game, the protesters at least attempted to make themselves heard during Ley’s broadcast.