“From la bomba to beisbol: sport and the Americanisation of Puerto Rico, 1898–1950 Roberta J. Park”
In 1898 when American troops arrived in Puerto Rico the idea of sport was mostly about hunting or fishing. Survival type sports were a key aspect of life in Puerto Rico. The dancing culture is also a mainstream entertainment in the culture. Though the game of Baseball would find its way to the island in 1896 where the first game was played by the sons of a Spanish Army Officer. Through American influence, the game grew fast with University teams playing in 1902 between other teams in Puerto Rico. In the 1920s teams were bought from Cuba, The Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Venezuela. The Cincinnati Reds even came to train in the Winter of 1936. As we see the growth of the game of Baseball on the island we now have to look at how it changed the culture. In 1913 a change was made to add physical education to the program of studies at schools. American sports were being played and taught in these schools with the growth of basketball, baseball, volleyball, and tennis. The culture began to shift into a more modern form of sports. The games popular here became popular there. A good example of this growth and popularity is when the United States entered World War Two a Caribbean Defense Command was set up in Puerto Rico. During all the craziness of the war, there were still Baseball fields on base and Basketball courts on base. This was due to these sports being so well established in Puerto Rican culture already. The sports found a way to grow so rapidly the island would later in the more modern era produce some of the greatest Baseball talents of all time. The expansion of sports in the culture for Puerto Rico helped modernize its people. They began to compete on a global scale and have continued to do so today.