Lakeland native makes history in Cuba with the Tampa Bay Rays - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Lakeland native makes history in Cuba with the Tampa Bay Rays

Logan Forsythe (Source: Flickr) Logan Forsythe (Source: Flickr)

Lakeland native Logan Forsythe is no stranger to big games. He's the starting second baseman for the Tampa Bay Rays. But Tuesday, he played in one of the most important baseball games of the past five decades. It won't end in a trophy, or decide who will take the pennant this year. Instead, the game would make history, played in front of two presidents, an excited crowd and the world watching for the political and social impact as much as the score.

Forsythe, a graduate of Christian Brothers High School, and his Tampa Bay teammates beat the Cuban national team in a landmark game with President Barack Obama and Raul Castro in attendance. It was the first US/Cuba exhibition game played since 1999, the first time a U.S. president set foot on Cuban soil since Calvin Coolidge.

Forsythe's parents, John and Dana, watched the game with pride from their home in Lakeland on Tuesday afternoon.

"It's surreal, it's amazing that he gets an opportunity to do this," said John Forsythe, his son taking a swing on the recorded ESPN broadcast over his shoulder. His son is just a ground ball away from the president. "Not many players get to do that." 

Although this game looks like any other in a lot of respects, it's clear to anyone watching that it's much bigger than this game, these players, a bat and a ball. "I think the president is trying to build a bridge," Forsythe said, "maybe this time it might work. And baseball is gonna be a big part of it."

America's favorite pastime has long been a bridge 90 miles across the water to its closest adversary. Now it seems, that bridge is wide open to the future. Forsythe smiles as he thinks about his son's part in it all, "I'm proud of him. The country should be proud of him and the Rays."

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