In the words of the great prophet, politician, and poet laureate, Kool Keith, “It’s over now.” That’s right, over. The World Baseball Classic has come to an end. We know who won, and who lost. We can put our 2013 WBC musings and dreams behind us, finally, and look to 2016.
Last night, the best team in the tournament– in the world, The Dominican Republic, beat Puerto Rico, 3-1. Their record was a perfect 8-0 in the tournament. They dominated. Congratulations to Team DR and their giant plantain! You guys deserve it. Here are the game highlights.
Team Dominicana vs Team Puerto Rico, Final
As King of All Jewish Baseball, to see how we can make baseball popular in Israel, a small country the size of New Jersey in the Middle East, let’s see how the Dominican Republic, an almost equally small country in the Caribbean, one half of the island, Hispaniola, became the greatest baseball playing country in all the world.
Facts, otherwise known as things that are true…
10 million people live in the Dominican.
7.5 million people Live in Israel.
The Dominican Republic is 18,000 square miles.
Israel is 8,000 square miles.
The Dominican Republic got independence in 1844 from Haiti and the islands previous European colonial powers France and Spain and was immediately and repeatedly attacked by Haiti, the nation they share the Island with.
Israel in got independence 1947 from previous European colonial power England and was immediately and repeatedly attacked by Palestine and other nations they share land with.
In the Dominican Republic, it is hot.
In Israel, it is hotter.
15% of Major League Baseball players come from the Dominican Republic.
0% of Major League Baseball Players come from Israel.
The Dominican Republic won the 2013 World Baseball Classic, handily.
Israel did not qualify for the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
So… how are two countries with so much in common so different when it comes to baseball?
Made up facts, otherwise known as things that might be true…
Well, let me tell you, here and now, Ladies and Geetle-Bugs, that I, the King of All Jewish Baseball, certified international baseball genius and card carrying magician, have no idea. But I will make some things up as is my habit as a professional blogger and exaggerator. And it, some of it, at least, may even turn out to be true. But we will not know for a long, long time, thankfully.
So, your answer…
Simply put, one country is full of Black Men with outrageous natural athletic ability who grow up with the sole intention of playing Major League Baseball in the name of helping their families out of poverty, and one is full of Jewish Men with varying levels of no athletic ability with the option of taking whatever worldly career path they’d like to explore.
Just kidding… sort of. To take a more “academic”, more “environmental”, less “racist”, I believe it’s called, approach, allow me to keep making things up…
The real fake answer is 4 answers, really.
1) Proximity to the USA
2) The passage of time
1) Proximity. All the places baseball has become popular are close to the USA, where the game was “invented”, and where it is still played most– The Caribbean and the Caribbean Coast of South America, Japan and East Coast of Asia, Mexico and the rest of Central America, Canada, and, somewhat less, Australia. The USA is like a baseball fire, and all these other countries are trying to keep their hands warm. Africa, Europe, and Israel, as I will soon see, are all far away.
2) Time. Baseball came to the DR in 1870 when Cuban farmers fled the Spanish in the Ten Years War. So 143 years have passed since baseball was introduced there. The IAB, on the other hand, was founded in 1986, just 27 years ago.
The example “farmers” fleeing “war” segways nicely…
3) Farming. Flat ground, big fields, and tobacco – all needed to play baseball. Not to mention the similar pace of farm-life and baseball-life. Life in israel, from what I know of it, is many things. ”Slow”… is not one of them.
4) War. There is though, unfortunately, plenty of war in Israel. It is commonly thought that baseball pops-up (pardon the pun) wherever American soldiers are fighting. The soldiers build fields, then the natives use them when they leave. This, like everything, is both true and untrue. Yes, baseball, and baseball fields, often spread with American conquest, but what, and this is the thing we are really searching for, is the magical quality that then attracts people to use the abandoned fields, or not use them???
Your fake guess is as good as mine.
This blog post is dedicated to all my former Dominican teammates and all the ballplayers in the Republica Dominicana… You guys are the CHAMPS!
Team Dominicana celebrates!!!