When reading this article, I was intrigued at the great sense of national identity that Cubans have for the game of baseball, despite it originating in the United States. The author states that baseball was popular enough to “survive under fifty years of a communist government” exemplifies the point that Cuba ingrained a foreign game in their national consciousness. The game was introduced in the 1870’s through American sailors stuck at port who taught local Cubans the game as well as Cubans who traveled abroad to the United States and brought the game back home. The game of baseball quickly became a signal of autonomy from their Spanish colonial master by forming their own baseball clubs and allowing women to watch baseball games unlike the more preeminent Spanish origin bullfighting rings. The game of baseball was seen as modern and progressive, coming from the Americans whereas Spanish bullfighting was seen as barbaric and medieval due to its exclusion of women, violence, and how ancient the game was. Continuing with this dichotomy, baseball in Cuba became seen as part of its struggle for independence through its symbolism of it being a game, not of Spanish origin, but of an American one that was made Cuban. This symbolism was made clearly apparent with the names of Cuban baseball clubs, one such being Anacona, after sixteenth century native rebel leader. Baseball players were often soldiers who fought and died for Cuban independence; a fact well known to the Spanish whom banned the sport in their colony during the Cuban War of Independence.

I was surprised to learn that American baseball in Cuba formed in nearly the exact same way as it did in the United States. In the United States, baseball formed through clubs and teams of factory workers who organized a game on their time off from labor. In Cuba, most early clubs were organized around the Sugar Mills with games being played during the Summer because its at the middle of the planting and harvesting seasons of sugar cane. The game, similar to American, British, and Argentinian examples, also became professionalized by the 1890’s via mass adoption of the game by the working-class. A game which was once an activity for the Cuban elite transformed into the national game for the working Cuban.