Team heads to Cuba to work out details; Alderson, Angelos' sons lead group on 2-day visit

THE BALTIMORE SUN

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Major League Baseball executive vice president Sandy Alderson and the two sons of Orioles owner Peter Angelos will lead a large logistical team to Havana today to work out the details for the Orioles visit to Cuba on March 28.

Major-league officials, representatives of sports network ESPN and a groundskeeping adviser also will take part in the two-day trip that will pave the way for the Orioles and a large contingent of officials and media.

"It's going to be very intensive," said Alderson, who attended the Orioles' exhibition game against Boston yesterday. "There obviously are a lot of legal issues to be addressed, a lot of diplomatic issues to be addressed and also a lot to do from a television standpoint. We're talking about a very short time frame and a location that is difficult to access. Those things make it difficult."

Still, Alderson said he sees no major obstacles remaining that could undermine the goodwill mission.

"We're getting tremendous cooperation from Cuban officials in Washington and from the State Department."

One of the top priorities is making sure that Havana's Latin American Stadium meets minimum standards of safety and playability. That's why MLB is taking a groundskeeping consultant along this time. The stadium originally was inspected by Alderson, players union representative Tony Bernazard and Orioles outfielder B. J. Surhoff.

The biggest safety issue in January was lack of padding on the outfield wall, but Alderson indicated that Major League Baseball is helping the Cuban sports officials address the problem.

Major-league officials also will attempt to make travel arrangements and hotel accommodations for the team and the media, as well as work out visa requirements for a group of players, officials and media that could number 300.

Pub Date: 3/11/99

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