Assuming that most of you watched the Super Bowl last night, you might have missed the Caribbean World Series that aired on ESPN2. Thanks to a walk-off single, the Dominican Republic defeated Mexico 6-5 in 11 innings, giving the host country (Mexico) their second loss in the Caribbean World Series.
I found this game interesting for a couple reasons: 1) I miss baseball way, way, way too much and 2) I am in a Caribbean cultures class this semester. Although I’m only one month into the course, I know that two of these countries (Mexico and Venezuela) aren’t technically a part of the Caribbean. Those two countries are just in the vicinity of it all, similar to the Atlanta Braves playing in the National League West years ago.
The idea of the Caribbean World Series came about in the middle 1940s. A baseball entrepreneur by the name of Pablo Morales saw the success of Serie Interamericana, which had teams from Venezuela, Mexico, Cuba, and the United States. Morales decided that having a competition solely of Caribbean teams would make for great entertainment, pitching the idea at a CBC conference in 1948.
This gave us the first installment of the Caribbean World Seires. At first, Cuba dominated the World Series – winning seven times from 1948-1960 – but the World Series was put on hiatus because of Ozzie Guillen’s BFF Fidel Castro and his mischievous ways.
The World Series hit the CTL+ALT+Delete buttons in 1970, giving us what we are used to seeing today. Baseball is the national sport for a lot of these countries, which is why the Caribbean World Series gives a lot of these countries bragging rights over each other. It also acts as a winter camp for a lot of MLB players. If you look at the rosters of Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Venezuela, you will noticed a lot of prominent big league players from the past and present.
There is a reason why big league players play in the Caribbean World Series, and it isn’t to tune up for the regular season. The main reason why there are so many MLB players in the Caribbean World Series is national pride. This tournament may not mean a whole lot to the American baseball fan, but it definitely means a lot to the players and fans involved in those countries.
So, while there may not be any “real” baseball going on for the American fans, you don’t have to look too far to watch some intense, competitive baseball games being played.