Week 7 Blog Post

Baseball in the texts we have read up to this point was dominant, taking up the mantle in America as the number one sport. Baseball had no struggle to maintain its status quo and often stopped other sports from challenging its popularity. Just shortly across the waters from Florida is Cuba and baseball has a similar story there. In the text “The Pride of Havana: A History of Cuban Baseball” written by Roberto Echevarria he writes about the history of early baseball within Cuba. The sports baseball competed with were bullfighting and theater were the most popular things to do, and see. Interestingly enough Cubans played a game similar to baseball, although by design it is more closely linked to tennis. Echevarria’s main points are how baseball has had a myth like rise in Cuba and how the sport developed alongside Cuban nationality, and the rivalries that developed within the country between Habana and Almendares. Similar to baseball in the United States, the sport soon took off into massive popularity. Echevarria reveals throughout his text that baseball rose into a similar popularity as the United States, becoming a favored pastime and in other cases, a lifestyle. Baseball unified Cuba in a time of political and social unrest, the sport brought all the different classes together following the Spanish-American War. Echevarria focuses on how the sport may have been introduced by the Americans, but it quickly became identifiably Cuban, as they helped shape the sport in very significant ways. 

In Robert Gumstead’s chapter of ‘The Sporting World of the Modern South’ he writes about the rise and origins of baseball in Puerto Rico. The origins are similar to Cuba in that they both originated from interactions with Americans. While Puerto Rico was not occupied by the United States like Cuba was, Puerto Rico became a trading partner to the United States and soon American ideology spread. Among the most interesting points in Gumstead’s chapter is how sports became a part of schools curriculum in Puerto Rico, namely baseball since it became the most popular. These chapters reveal that baseball grew in areas outside of the United States, mostly the countries they interacted with because it was so massively popular in America that it was bound to spread to the nations near it. I find it interesting how baseball quickly took up popularity within Cuba and Puerto Rico, or even how despite political tensions between the United States and Cuba the ‘American’ sport still maintained popularity in Cuba. Furthermore, how baseball can be seen as an indicator of bringing the United States and Puerto Rico closer together socially, and politically through the shared pastime. Baseball becoming a national pastime within Puerto Rico and Cuba shows that baseball was not just an American sport, but growing outside of the United States and becoming a national identifier for other countries too. These readings show the importance of baseball outside of the United States and more importantly the interconnecting of different cultures through a sport. Although baseball did have racialized leagues, the sport itself still managed to bring together the people of Cuba, and Puerto Rico in their own way.

2 Thoughts on “Week 7 Blog Post

  1. I did not read Gumstead’s chapter, but yeah I find it interesting that Puerto Rico and Cuba have quite a similar story when it comes to Baseball. And yes I think the Spanish/American war played a key part of the growth of baseball in these countries. Because, America spreading it’s American ideals and sports such as baseball was America’s Neo-colonialism in work. And yes I agree with you that this is proof that baseball is not purely a USA Sport, it has grown to other countries unlike something such as American football that is mainly only marketed to Americans only, though I think they are trying to change that by playing a game in London every year and occasionally playing a game in Mexico.

  2. Mitch,
    I enjoyed your post and all the thoughts you had to say. Baseball is definitely a sport where certain countries want to be identified for such as Puerto Rico and Cuba. Baseball is turning into a sport with different ethnicities from across the globe. For example, the MLB is starting to become a Latin based sport. Puerto Rico’s relationship with the United States soon became stronger sharing ideas and the “American way” of baseball. Nice post!

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