Latinos did indeed dominate the World Baseball Classic Finale and it wasn’t just Team Dominican Republic and Team Puerto Rico! The fans had a lot to say about it and they were plenty vocal at this finale! The Dominican Republic probably out-noised the Puerto Rican’s but it wasn’t because they weren’t trying.
It started with the national anthems of both countries, both beautiful and bold and loudly sung by the local compatriots, and then with every strike, every hit, every call, every out, a loud and boisterous cheer would rise up from one side of the stadium or the other. I didn’t really understand a lot of what the chants and cheers were about because I don’t speak Spanish, but there was no mistaken the enthusiasm from both sides of the field tonight. And I loved it!
I’ve always felt baseball was an American sport, my sport, and I’ve been rather complacent in that understanding. I suppose secretly I felt it gave me just a tad bit of superiority knowing I was an American spectator at “my sport” and no one loved and understood the sport quite as much as I did. But that feeling quickly dissipated tonight as I watched how these two teams and their raucous rowdy fans with their horns and cowbells displayed their emotions with every bit the love, pride and enthusiasm I always felt was reserved for my team, my country. And I found myself cheering just as loud as they were ~ for BOTH teams! I mean how can you possibly pick one or the other? You’ve gotta love them both, unless, of course, you’re from one of those two countries.
And it wasn’t just at the game. After the game we came across a young fan from Puerto Rico who was trying to take a picture with his cell phone of his one-star flag by holding the flag in one hand and trying to balance the camera in the other. My sister offered her help as he explained he was trying to send the pic to his girlfriend. He then gave us a brief lesson on the history of the flag and how important it was that they were in the WBC Finals. Puerto Rico ended up losing to the Dominican Republic by a score of 3-0, as the Dominican Republic went 8-0 and became the first team to go unbeaten in a WBC.
But it didn’t seem to matter, at least not to this fan. He was just happy to be a part of the experience. And so were we. The crowd was composed of Hispanics and Latinos happy, proud and loud, to be there. It was exciting and humbling to witness that fan base. I’ve attended several games in Mazatlan, Mexico, and it was the same thing there. This isn’t just an American sport anymore folks, if, in fact, it ever was. It belongs to all of us.
Congratulations to the Dominican Republic and the Puerto Rican teams for an honorable display of the love of baseball and patriotism combined. And so, until the next World Baseball Classic brings all of us together again ~ sayonara, tot ziens and adios amigos!