Baseball, the great American pastime, while it is true that baseball holds a special place in the eyes of Americans, it is just as important in other parts of the world. We see so often today that a large number of players in the MLB are not American and come from various Asian and Latin American countries. Roberto Gonzalez Echevarria specifically discusses the presence of baseball in Cuba. Echevarria discusses the idea of myths and distortions when discussing the history of baseball and how the too the Cubans, they were the inventors of the game and played a game similar to baseball centuries before the U.S. had even thought about it. He also describes how this way of thinking is in line with the anti American sentiment in Cuba. Since the days of Fidel Castro in the late 1950s early 60s, Cuba has been at odd with the USA on almost everything and being how baseball is so sacred to them, it is natural for them to try and claim it to be their own and completely erase the USA from its history. Echevarria discusses however that baseball likely came to Cuba in the late 1800s when the USA was helping to build up Cuba and they had close relations. Echevarria then goes on to say how baseball became a way for the Cubans to rebel against Spanish rule. The population of children and young adults going outside and playing an American game was almost like a spit in the face of the Spanish. Baseball is a symbol of defiance and freedom to the Cubans which is why it is so sacred to them.
Puerto Rico has similar origins when it comes to baseball as described in From La Bomba to Beisbol by Roberta Park. This article describes how the USA came to become a major trading partner in Puerto Rico after the Spanish were forced to leave. The USA helped to institute bilingual schools in Puerto Rico and many students learned English along with speaking their native Spanish. Sports became part of the curriculum for many Puerto Rican students and baseball was the undeniable king. The YMCA in particular was a big group that was helping to spread the American ideals, we saw this a couple weeks ago when we were discussing how the YMCA spread sports to Brazil and the Philippines and here they area again helping to spread American ideals and sports. This integration of sports has helped bring Puerto Rico into more global affairs and the island continues to be a feature in American policy and likely one day will become the 51st state. Baseball is very important to Latin America and the Caribbean, it is one of very places in the world where there is a sport that is more popular than Soccer and it has helped create a national identity for those nations.