How did baseball spread to the American continent 

On March 8, at the Intercontinental Stadium in Taichung, Taiwan, the Netherlands and Cuba national baseball teams will be playing. This is the 5th World Baseball Classic (WBC). The WBC is a tournament established in 2006 by the US Major League Baseball to ‘globalize baseball’.

The first baseball rules were enacted in 1845. Since 1863 was the year the England Football Association (FA) enacted football rules, baseball was born eight years before football. However, in terms of ‘globalization’, baseball lags far behind soccer, a latecomer. According to one estimate, there are 3.5 billion soccer fans worldwide. Baseball is one seventh of that number, 500 million.

At the level of globalization, the difference between baseball and soccer is the difference between the UK and the US, the two countries of origin. At the time football was born, England was a colonial empire. The spread of British culture was also extensive. On the other hand, the time when the United States opened ‘Pax Americana’ was after World War II. Since the Monroe Doctrine of 1823, the United States has taken an isolationist refusal to intervene in Europe and an imperialist attitude in the Americas.

In this year’s WBC, eight North and Central American countries, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Panama, and Nicaragua, and two South American countries, Colombia and Venezuela, will participate in the WBC. The process of disseminating baseball in this region cannot be seen without regard to the foreign relations of the United States. The only country where baseball was ‘peacefully’ spread was Canada’s northern neighbor, which shared the British colonial experience.

Among the 20 participating countries, Mexico can be counted as the country where baseball first spread. Baseball came to Mexico with the war. In 1845, when baseball was born, the United States annexed Texas, which was a Mexican territory, into its own union. In April of the following year, the US-Mexico War broke out. US forces attacked Mexico’s “Fernandos” as they “crossed the Rio Grande,” in the words of a song by Swedish pop group ABBA. The US-Mexico War lasted three years. American soldiers stationed at the time spread baseball, which is the oldest origin of baseball in Mexico.

Cuba is an island country just off the Florida Peninsula. In 1864, when it was a Spanish colony, Nemesio Guillot, who studied in the United States, introduced baseball. Cuba is a country that cannot be free from the influence of the United States, just by looking at the map. In 1859, the United States paid attention to Spain to the extent of offering to purchase Cuba. The Cubans gained autonomy from Spain in the First War of Independence (10 Years’ War) between 1868 and 1878. The year after the war, Cuba had its first professional baseball league outside the United States. Cubans who moved to the neighboring island of Hispaniola to escape the war spread baseball to the Dominican Republic in the eastern part of the island. The Dominican Republic produced 171 major leaguers last year. most outside of the United States.

Best sport in Cuba with strong anti-American sentiment

In 1898, 20 years after the Ten Years’ War, the Spanish-American War broke out. In February of that year, a US Navy main ship anchored in Havana, Cuba, sank due to a mysterious explosion. Shortly after this incident, the United States declares war on Spain. Even before that, the United States supported the Cuban independence movement to expel Spain. The Civil War was close to the time when baseball was spread to Puerto Rico, an island located to the right of Hispaniola. Cuban immigrants formed clubs and organized associations with locals. Puerto Rico was the runner-up in the 2013 and 2017 competitions.

By winning the American-American War, the United States acquired Cuba and Puerto Rico in the Caribbean and the Philippines and Guam in Asia from Spain. Cuba became independent after going through the US military government, but Puerto Rico remains a US territory to this day. Today, baseball is in decline in the Philippines and Guam. However, the Philippines was the host and winner of the 1st Asian Baseball Championship in 1954. Twenty or thirty years ago, the most popular sport on Guam was baseball.

The first baseball game in Panama to participate in the WBC for the third time was held in 1883. But before that, in the 1850s, American railroad workers delivered baseball. Located on an isthmus between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, Panama was a very important region for the United States. After the American-American War, the United States, which ruled the Philippines and Guam in the Pacific, began to build canals in earnest.

At the time, Panama was one of the provinces of the Commonwealth of Colombia. When the Colombian Congress delayed ratifying the canal, the United States backed the separatists. As a result, in 1903 Panama gained independence from Colombia. The United States owned the Panama Canal from its completion in 1914 until 1999. 안전놀이터

Nicaragua, the first entry in the tournament, is a country separated by Costa Rica from Panama. Baseball was introduced by American businessman Albert Adlesburg in the 1880s. The first baseball game was held in 1891. The United States exercised influence in Nicaragua for the same reasons as Panama. Since the 19th century, Nicaragua has been regarded as an influential canal construction site along with Panama. However, the plan was disrupted by the 1902 Martinique volcanic eruption.

Colombia, South America, is participating in the WBC for the second time. Baseball was introduced at a time when the United States was strengthening its influence in Central America and the Caribbean before and after the American-American War. The fact that the area where baseball is now prevalent in Colombia is the Caribbean coast shows the process and reason why baseball was introduced in this country. Venezuela is a country where baseball is rare in South America, the ‘continent of football’. Last year, Venezuela (106) was the country that produced the most major leaguers after the Dominican Republic. Venezuela, like Colombia, is a country on the Caribbean Sea.

The propagation and spread of baseball in the Americas is closely related to the power of the United States, which emerged as a great power in the 20th century. industrially as well. Mexico runs one of the best organized professional baseball leagues in the region. However, the Mexican League, which will be held in the summer, was organized in the Triple A level minor league until 2021. Player salaries are capped at $12,000 per month. In Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico, winter leagues are held during the winter when major leagues are suspended. Winter League serves as a supplier of major league players, along with baseball academies operating in these areas.

In a paper published last year by Jane Rousey, a history professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, “The United States took quasi-control over the fledgling Republics of Panama and Cuba after the American-American War, and supported the dictatorships of the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. As a result, a heightened sense of nationalism in the region was not intended by the United States.”

But for many in this area, baseball is a part of life. The fact that the best sport in Cuba, the country with the strongest anti-American sentiment, is baseball shows this well. Fidel Castro, who died in 2016, also contributed baseball-related articles to the Communist Party’s official newspaper Granma when the WBC tournament was held during his lifetime. The musical film In the Heights deals with the story of immigrants from the Dominican Republic to New York. A father appears saying “I want to go back” while watching baseball in his home league, not the major league.

Professor Rausch wrote, “A paradoxical phenomenon of accepting American culture has emerged while anti-American sentiment has increased.” This is a phenomenon that also appeared in Korea, where baseball became a popular sport during the Japanese colonial period. Baseball in the colonial era was a sport of the rulers and a symbol of modernity to be pursued. Jang Tae-yeong, a superstar baseball player in the 1950s, entered Gyeongnam Middle School in 1944 during the Japanese colonial period. In his autobiography, he wrote, “I had to suffer in the gap between antinomy and longing for Japan or Japanese imperialism, and the more I did, the more I fell in love with baseball and Japanese literature.”

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