Cuban Airwaves Show First MLB Game In More Than 50 Years

Atlanta Braves Washington Nationals Game - H 2013
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Atlanta Braves Washington Nationals Game - H 2013

The two-month-old matchup featured no local stars, and its unclear whether the Communist country got permission from the MLB to broadcast it.

The first full-length Major League Baseball game in more than 50 years was broadcast on open airwaves in Cuba this week. Unfortunately for local fans, though, the game was nearly two months old and featured no Cuban stars.

Around 9:30 Sunday night, local sports show Baseball International cut to a full replay of the Atlanta Braves' 3-1 win over the Washington Nationals from May 2, according to The Associated Press.

The game was shown without commercials and featured play-by-play from Cuban commentators.

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But many die-hard fans shrugged after watching the 90-minute matchup, which didn't feature any big-name Cuban baseball stars.

"It's interesting to see how they play, but I can't say it thrilled me all that much because I don't know any of the players," one Cuban resident told the AP. "I would really like to see the Cubans, see how they are developing in that league, really see how well they are doing."

A fan of Havana's powerhouse team, Industriales, added, "I watched this game for about 45 minutes and didn't think much of it. Besides, there weren't any Cubans. That's what interests us."

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She said she hoped to see a live game broadcast on the open airwaves.

Cuban television sometimes carries MLB highlights and last month showed several games of the NBA finals, days after they were played. Local cable TV, which is typically limited to foreigners, also has programming from ESPN and Fox sports channels. But this week was the first time since 1961 that a full-length MLB game was shown on the open airwaves, to which most Cubans have access.

It was not clear whether Cuba got permission from Major League Baseball to broadcast the game, the AP notes. The Communist country routinely airs U.S. TV shows like Seinfeld and C.S.I. without compensating American networks, the AP reports.