University of Tampa team brings baseball diplomacy to Cuba, home to millions of 'pelota' fans

Balls and strikes, not politics, are ruling the day at a baseball diamond in Havana.

Last year's U.S. college championship team from the University of Tampa has played an exhibition game against a Cuban youth squad in Havana.

It's the latest example of baseball diplomacy seeking to bridge the gulf between two baseball-mad nations that disagree on just about everything except for their shared love of the sport.

The Floridians are also meeting with student groups, artists and children, and touring galleries, museums and historic Old Havana.

The visitors scraped out a hard-fought 2-1 win Wednesday.

But Tampa Spartans head coach Joe Urso says winning or losing isn't what matters: "Sports brings people together."

Cultural exchanges between Cuba and the U.S. have become notably more common in recent years.