Clayton Kershaw is known all over the globe as one of the best pitchers in baseball and on a recent goodwill trip with a group of major leaguers, his stardom made local Cubans cry tears of joy.
Onlookers watched, and weeped, as Kershaw played catch with former MLB outfielder Jose Cruz.
“It was a bit surreal,” Cruz told Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com. “It was beautiful.”
Kershaw and a group consisting of Miguel Cabrera, Jose Abreu, Yasiel Puig, Alexei Ramirez, Nelson Cruz, Brayan Pena, and Jon Jay are currently on the trip through Cuba, which is the first time Major League Baseball has officially returned to the country since 1999.
“It kind of put it in perspective, how important baseball is here,” Kershaw said of his game of catch and the many onlookers. “Just the passion that the Cuban people have for baseball, and then maybe the significance of this trip, too.
“They keep saying, ‘Baseball’s the way of life,’ but you don’t really know what that means. Then you come here and you kind of understand. It’s so important, and it’s so new, too, this whole trip and what the people here can experience and what we as players can do. It’s just such new territory for us. I think the excitement of being here is infectious.”
This isn’t the first time Kershaw has shown a willingness to help on a trip abroad. The three-time Cy Young winner made a trip to the Dominican Republic last year to assist at a local hospital and in 2013 he helped build an orphanage and provided charitable work along with his wife, Ellen, in Africa.
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