Baseball the “International” Pastime

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Professional baseball is commonly referred to as America’s pastime and an American game, but given the actual ethnic makeup of the MLB, that point is not valid. For example, on the 2012 MLB opening day, 38.2% of the league was a person of color. Latinos made up 27.3% of the league, African-Americans 8.8%, and Asians 1.9%. The MLB’s ethnic makeup is a reflection of the game’s diversity. So, although we idealize professional baseball as American and consider the standard definition of an American as a white male,  around 40% of players in the MLB are people of color.

The game is not as homogenous as it was in the past, and in fact, it should be referred to as an international game since early forms of baseball began in England and not the U.S. Furthermore, although the United States hosts the World Baseball classic, the United States has never won the World Baseball Classic or even placed in the top three.  Instead, the Dominican Republic won the championship in 2013 as Puerto Rico placed 2nd, Japan 3rd, and the Netherlands 4th. Thus, giving the title of “American” to the game of baseball insinuates an American superiority that is not an accurate representation of the American team’s skill.

Amongst individual baseball players, the Venezuelan player Miguel Cabrera won the 2012 American League MVP award and currently has the strongest batting average in the American League for the current season in process. The African-American player David Price won the 2012 American League Cy Young award. And many MLB poster boys are from the Dominican Republic, such as Sammy Sosa, David Ortiz, and Albert Pujols. Clearly, people of color have a tremendous influence over the game. It’s no longer a white man’s game.

The MLB is in the United States, but that does not mean the players are all from the United States. It is a global sport and should be recognized as one.

Work Cited

MLB 2012 Awards

Racial and Gender report card of MLB 2012

Origins of Baseball

7 responses to “Baseball the “International” Pastime

  1. I really liked how you brought this issue up. I never really considered the implications that “America’s pastime” has. I think that you raised good issues and made some solid points

  2. While you say that this type of racial diversity in baseball makes it less “American,” maybe this simply makes it more American. If we hold to the optimistic view that American is indeed a melting pot, the argument could be made that in fact Baseball IS the American Pastime, not because white americans play it, but because it’s such an inclusive sport that not JUST white americans play it.

  3. While you say that this type of racial diversity in baseball makes it less “American,” maybe this simply makes it more American. If we hold to the optimistic view that American is indeed a melting pot, the argument could be made that in fact Baseball IS the American Pastime, not because white americans play it, but because it’s such an inclusive sport that not JUST white americans play it.

  4. You make a very insightful point that baseball should be considered a global sport, and not just an American one because of the diverse make up of its players. I never really thought about this before, but it makes a lot of sense.

  5. Wow I never knew that the U.S. was never in the top three of the World Baseball Classic. This was enlightening because it makes one be more aware of what truly is “American” and how everyone feeds into what the media tells them without questioning it.

  6. Awesome blog post Javier! I really enjoyed the comments you made regarding how “American” baseball really is. Since I do not follow baseball very closely, I never realized how globalized the sport has become.

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