Baseball, Cuba, and Cuban People

For the Cuban people, baseball or pelota is their national sport, which they never feel tired to argue about. There is no Cuban person that could miss to playing pelota in a cross alley, road or in the nearby park, and even women of all ages adore and know this sport.

Nevertheless, baseball has a rich history in the Island, and a large account of outstanding athletes throughout time.

Created in 1820, this sport was brought to the Caribbean in the midst 19th Century and developed later.

Most of the scholars point out that the North American Alexander “Joe” Cartwright was the father of baseball due to his contributions to this sport.

Baseball sport, as it is known nowadays is a mixture of varied sports such as the English cricket and the rounder, taken to North American ground in the 18th Century.

Cartwright was a banker from New York born in 1820, who was able to set the rules for the game, setting regulations, dimensions of the field and the amount of players.

As well, he created a team in 1845, the New York Knickerborkers that counted on the support of many businessmen of New York that time.

The new sport spread out across the country and went abroad the North American borders due to the fact that seamen of that country used to practice it during their breaks. That way it spreads out to countries such as Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and also to Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia and Panama.

Latin and Caribbean students in the United States met and spread out this sport of balls and strikes when coming back to their corresponding nations.

Nevertheless, some people say that the origin of baseball was in the pre-Columbian America, when the taino aborigines used to practice a kind of baseball called then Batos, according to historians and scholars.

The taino aborigines called Batey to the set of huts where they used to live. They used to arrange blank spaces there in order to play Batos, according to the legend.

Maybe, because it was a game clearly based on aborigine civilizations and due to the fact that it was a deep-rooted tradition in Cuba, it became a national sport, until it replaced the Corridas de Toro brought by the Spanish in the 19th Century.

As to the details, both hypotheses on its direct entrance in Cuba are supported by the fact that the University student Nemesio Guilló who came back to the Island in 1864 after studying in the United States, started again the idea of practicing this sport, although there is another theory stating that the North American marines introduced this sport here during their journeys.

The baseball sport spread out all over Cuba, mainly in Havana and Matanzas, provinces that were represented by their teams in the first official games held on September 27, 1874 in the stadium Palmar del Junco, still functioning. That is why, baseball for a Cuban person is essential, in local and international games.


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