BY HOLLY M. ANDERSON | Pioneer Press
One thing Cuba and the United States have in common is a love for baseball and a local organization is using the connection to bridge the cultural divide.
Next week, the Oak Park Illinois Sister Cities International organization plans to send 1,000 pounds of baseball equipment and uniforms to Sagua la Grande, a town in the Villa Clara province of Cuba.
“It’s good diplomacy,” said David Bingaman, who’s involved in the Sagua la Grande Sister’s City Program. “It’s a way to build on what we have in common.”
During a past trip to Cuba Bingaman gave his son’s used baseball glove to a young Cuban boy. On a return trip, he found the boy had used the glove so often that the leather had nearly worn through.
“It broke my heart,” Bingaman said. “Baseball equipment is one thing they have no way to get access to.”
Before the Cuban team was adopted by Bingaman and others within the organization children used taped up broken glass as a makeshift baseball and tree limbs to substitute as bats.
The organization has received equipment donations from teams and youth organizations in Oak Park, River Forest and Elmhurst.
In conjunction with their donation, the Oak Park Illinois Sister City organization has indicated plans to host cultural exchanges%2