Created in 12th-century England, soccer has become a global sport that unites people from all around the world. With the increasing popularity of the game, it is bridging the gap between races and gender. However, it’s not the most popular sport in some countries. Some regions have baseball to be their most popular sport.
The Dominican Republic had already been independent since 1870, and baseball was mainly brought in by Cubans. It quickly gained popularity, and by the time the Americans invaded the island in 1916, it became one of the country’s most popular sports which is still more popular than soccer.
Still, the Dominican Republic isn’t the only country in the world wherein baseball is the most popular physical activity. Continue reading to know why baseball is more popular than soccer in the Dominican Republic. You’ll also know which other regions in the world find baseball more popular than other sports.
Why is Baseball More Popular in the Dominican Republic Than Soccer?
Understanding the reason why baseball is more popular in the Dominican Republic than soccer requires a quick look at the country’s history.
Many Cubans fled the country due to the Ten Years’ War. They settled in the Dominican Republic. The country’s first professional baseball clubs were established in 1890. It wasn’t until 1951 when The Dominican Summer League started. From then on, it has attracted top players from the major league. As of 2015, the country’s participation in the Major Leagues has become global.
Over time, baseball academies rose in the Dominican Republic, allowing many young men the chance to play in professional matches. Take note that Major League Baseball academies are the tools used by the clubs to find and develop promising young players in Latin America.
Now, every single team in the Major Leagues has a training academy in the Dominican Republic. With four out of every ten residents living in poverty in the country, baseball has become a symbol of hope for many.
Many young boys in the Dominican Republic are focused on playing baseball because of the facilities that are available to them. Only 2% of Dominican recruits can make a living in Major League Baseball, leaving many of them with no education and no job prospects. This has prompted many baseball academies to implement educational programs to help their young players.
Today, some of the known MLB players are from the Dominican Republic. Some of these star players are:
Other Countries Where Baseball is Popular
As mentioned previously, the Dominican Republic isn’t the only country in the world where baseball is their most popular sport. Some regions even find this physical activity to be more than a sport but an endearing lifestyle.
Like the history of baseball in the Dominican Republic, understanding the popularity of Japanese baseball requires a quick look at its history.
During the period after the Second World War, baseball started to gain actual popularity in Japan. This was largely due to the American players who promoted the game alongside Japanese companies.
Nippon Professional Baseball is the biggest professional tournament in Japan. It is also the topmost league in the world. In 1905, the university baseball team traveled to the US to play with that country’s team. This momentous event had the aim of popularizing the sport in Japan.
Today, and for the Japanese, attending a baseball game became an occasion to have fun and cheer for their favorite team. During the summer, fans can also enjoy a beer garden with female beer attendants.
The atmosphere of the baseball matches in Japan was pleasant and fun to attend. This made it possible for people who were not into the sport to enjoy it, allowing baseball to gain mass fame over time.
Although the most popular sport in Canada is ice hockey, baseball doesn’t fall far behind. It all began in June 1838, which was also the country’s first recorded baseball game.
Many Canadian baseball fans believe that a game played in Ontario on June 4, 1838, was the first documented case of modern baseball. However, there is no evidence that the rules were ever codified in other regions.
Although baseball is widely played in Canada (there are currently two Canadian teams, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Montreal Expos), the American major league did not have a Canadian team until 1969.
Canada has hosted various minor league teams since the 19th century. Many Canadian cities also have multiple AAA franchises.
Several independent leagues have teams in Canada. There are also teams in the Can-Am Association and the American Association.
3. Puerto Rico
Although America’s pastime is baseball, Puerto Rico is also known for its love of the game.
Puerto Rico’s winter league is held from January to May and brings in many American players. The island’s minor leaguers are treated as national icons. Since Puerto Rico is a nation with a population of only 4 million people, every player on a major league roster is a representative of the people and their country. Some notable players in the MLB came from this country, including Robert Clemente of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Juan Gonzalez of the Texas Rangers.
For Dominicans, baseball is more than just a game. It’s a passion that they can share and a dream that can become a reality. Aside from the Dominican Republic, Japan also puts baseball in high regard. Other countries, like Puerto Rico and Canada, also like baseball more than soccer, but these countries have other sports that are more famous than baseball.