The Iowa Cubs will host the first game of this summer's international friendship series between Team USA and the Cuban National Team. The game is set for July 18 at Principal Park as the two countries' Collegiate National Team programs will face off for the second consecutive year.
Tickets are on sale now for the 7:05 p.m. Thursday, July 18, game at Principal Park. (Ticket prices are same as Iowa Cubs games, ranging from $7 to $25 for adults.) It will be a Mug Club Thursday Night. Fireworks will follow the game.
Team USA will play its first game in Des Moines since defeating Chinese Taipei, 7-1, in 2000.
Team USA will be led by Texas Christian University coach Jim Schlossnagle.
Last year, the United States and Cuba resumed friendship series play at the collegiate level after a 16-year hiatus, with Team USA traveling to Havana for a five-game series. Cuba won the series, 3-2.
The 2013 edition will feature games across three states from July 18-23. The Omaha Storm Chasers and the Durham Bulls will also host friendship games.
On July 19 and 20, the Storm Chasers and the Omaha Sports Commission will host games two and three of the international friendship series at Werner Park. The games will continue a recent tradition of the Collegiate National Team playing in Omaha. In 2010, USA Baseball hosted Japan at Rosenblatt Stadium, and in 2011, hosted Japan at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha.
The following day, the two teams will travel to the Triangle-area of North Carolina to play the final two games of the international friendship series.
On Monday, July 22, the two teams will meet at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C., for game four, with game five being played the following night at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, N.C.
The games are the culminating event of the Collegiate National Team's 2013 summer tour, and follows games in Japan from July 6-11, and 13 matchups with summer collegiate league all-star teams from June 22-July 2 and again from July 15-17.
The series will be the first in the United States between the two baseball-rich countries since Cuba won a five-game series, 3-2, in 1996, held in minor-league ballparks across four southern U.S. states.