In Roberto Echevarria’s book “The Pride of Havana: A History of Cuban Baseball,” he presents a new idea about the struggle of baseball in Cuba. In all the previous texts we have discussed, baseball the king and did everything to prevent other sports from taking their spotlight. However, Echevarria points out how in Cuba baseball was the sport that had to fight to gain attention. Baseball in Cuba had an uphill battle as bullfighting and theaters held the entertainment eye of the Cuban people. Another interesting point was that baseball was considered a “modern” sport in Cuba, was it seem the same way in the rest of the world? Echevarria also points out how the Ten Years’ War created many different struggles for the people of Cuba. Famine and social unrest lead to baseball creating a place of unity. Baseball allowed people to forget their social classes and cheer for a team, it helped the “democratization and secularization of Cuban culture”.  Roberta Park informs readers that baseball was first introduced to Puerto Rico by Spanish officers who had been stationed in Cuba. Baseball had grown in Cuba to a point that after the Spanish American War in 1898 and was beginning to spill into nearby countries.

Unlike in Cuba, in Puerto Rico baseball took hold in different schools and universities. In fact, Roberta Park points out how the first meeting to two baseball teams was in 1905 between schools. Different from Cuba, America had a much greater say in the education reforms in the early 20th century and had an impressive say on sports in schools. This article reminds me of previous readings about the YMCA and how the US government used them to spread “American Ideals”. This makes me wonder if the relationship between Puerto Rico and America is from this heavy influence. Also because the US did not directly impact Cuban schools and thinking, did it lead to a negative relationship in the future? 

3 Thoughts on “Blog Week # 7

  1. Hello Andrew!
    I found your use of questions throughout your blog post as a great way to stimulate later discussion. I liked your focus on how early baseball struggled in Cuba, which in itself is such a hard contrast to baseball in the United States. I think it is crazy how important baseball became to the Cubans soon after they began playing it, and how it became such a massive part of their culture. Just like in the United States baseball helped bring together all different people and create a new pastime as well as a new lifestyle for many. I found your concise descriptions of the readings to majorly aid in my own understanding of the readings. On another note it is just as interesting about the growth of baseball in Puerto Rico, how it grew not because of American occupation but because of trading with the United States. I liked how you directly emphasized that sports became a part of Puerto Rico’s school curriculum, and that it shows how important sports became to other cultures outside of the United States. Overall I found these readings to show how baseball grew outside of the United States and that it is not a distinctly ‘American’ sport as it as massive importance outside of the United States. I really liked your blog post as I felt like you pinpointed many of the most interesting parts of the readings this week, and I look forward to our discussion on the readings this week!

  2. Hey Andrew,
    The idea of Baseball struggling in Cuba during its beginning on the island is in stark contrast to the Baseball being widley accepted in the states. I think they may have been done due to the fact that baseball was seen as a protest of some kind against the Spanish Empire who ruled over these nations. Many heroes of early cuban baseball were also war heroes. Great Post!

  3. Andrew,
    First off, I just wanted to say that I really liked your use of questions in your post to drive the big ideas home. But I do think the rise of baseball in Cuba and from what I read in Puerto Rico a very different. While we see Cuba having its own leagues, Puerto Rico seemed to be more influenced by Americans and eventually used baseball and other sports to help with their university. I think America has had a very different level of influence with sports and these two countries, but we can still definitely see the influence. I honestly think that this sport has engrained itself into the national identity of Cuba and Puerto Rico. Both never allowed wars to tear the sport apart and with all of the political unrest these countries have had, baseball was the ultimate unifier.

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