It turned out to be a most unusual start to a most unusual week.
Although one of the Cuban baseball players left his team minutes after they arrived at the Hubert Humphrey Terminal Saturday afternoon, and hasn’t been heard from since, all activities planned for the Cubans’ visit here will continue unchanged.
The busy weekend for the Cuban delegation included a warm welcome at the airport, videos of the St. Thomas trip to Havana last January, two dances, tours of the Twin Cities, practice in the Metrodome, and lots and lots of questions from reporters who have been focusing on the missing player, second baseman Mario Meguel Chaoui, a 20-year-old freshman from Havana.
Today, the Cuban team members will practice again in the dome while University of Havana faculty and staff attend presentations on U.S. politics and the economy.
This afternoon, St. Thomas students will lead team members on tours of the campus (if you see a tour group, greetings are always welcome in any language). The All College Council will welcome the Cubans at an informal social from 3 to 5 p.m. in the first-floor lounge of Murray-Herrick Campus Center. All members of the St. Thomas community are welcome.
Later this afternoon, the Cubans will visit the Ramsey County Courthouse and the bust of Cuban national hero, Jose Marti. A dinner is planned at the St. Paul Hotel, where Dr. Juan Vela Valdes, rector of the University of Havana, will receive an honorary degree from St. Thomas.
This evening, the St. Thomas and Cuban baseball teams will face each other at a neighborhood bowling alley.
Tuesday is game day. The game between the Tommies and Equipo Caribe is free and open to all. Tickets are not required; fans are asked to enter the stadium’s Gate F, at Chicago Avenue and Fifth Street. Seating will be in the first deck surrounding the infield.
If you need a ride to the game, shuttle buses will be making runs between St. Thomas and the Metrodome. Starting shortly after 10 a.m., the free buses will pick up passengers in front of the Summit Avenue arches. For the return trip after the game, the buses will pick up passengers at the same spot they were dropped off.