Baseball was first brought over to the Dominican Republic in the 1870's, when thousands of Cubans came fleeing to the island nation in refuge from the Ten Years' War. Along with baseball, Cubans also brought with sugar producing expertise that had made them the largest sugar producer in the Caribbean. Sugar immediately became the Dominican Republic's key money-making export, but baseball took a little longer to come around. At the turn of the century, many British of African descent came to the Dominican Republic from St. Martin, Nevis, Tortola and other islands whose sugar industry was collapsing as the Dominican cane fields were expanding. These Cocolos brought with them cricket and more organizational social discipline, which were inhereted from their British backgrounds. Cricket was an extremely popular sport in the Republic until baseball came to be the sport of choice in the late 1930s.
Why has baseball has long become the cultural centerpiece of the Dominican Republic? There are many factors to consider in answering this question. Because of the similarities to baseball, cricket can be seen as the launchpad for the what has truly became the Dominican nat1ional past-time. The popularity of cricket gave way to baseball which exploded by the mid-twentieth century.
A major element in the baseball evolution in the Dominican Republic is the socio-economic environment. The island consisteds of mostly workers of the sugar mills, which is completely seasonal harvest. During the winter months, also known as the Dead season, the workers did not have much to do. Baseball became the recreation of choice as practically every man and boy picked up a bat and ball to enjoy the game during their ...
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...te ownership deepened the divide between players and fans.
A rather simple answer is that baseball is their lives. Every boy grows up with a bat and a ball, and everyone gets a chance to play. Baseball in the Dominican Republic, in comparison to the United States, is baseball, basketball, football and nintendo rolled into one culture. I have to use the term culture, because baseball in the Dominican Republic has transcended the boundaries of sport. It has become an extraordinary part of their daily lives. Earlier in the century, the first championship games in Santo Domingo were attended by a crowd exceeding twenty thousand when the population of the city was slightly over thrity thousand. Baseball has evolved into a national culture in the Dominican Republic, with the enthusiasm and the passion for the sport in the Dominican Republic to only have grown since.
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