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Thread: So...if Puerto Rico gets statehood...what happens to their baseball team?

  1. #1

    So...if Puerto Rico gets statehood...what happens to their baseball team?

    So on November 6 a lot of elections were held...Presidential, Senate, House, Gubernatorial, etc. But one election in particular might seem to have a bearing on the future of the Puerto Rican baseball team: the fourth referendum on Puerto Rico's status.


    Unlike the previous referenda this was a two part poll which first asked voters if they wanted to maintain the status quo (the current territorial status under the constitution of the commonwealth of puerto rico) and then asked which non-territorial status they would prefer (statehood, free associated statehood or independence) regardless of the result of the first question. Leading up to the actual vote no option was expected to get a majority (though a couple of polls had statehood just gaining 50% of the vote).

    But now it seems that as a result of an attempted protest in which voters supportive of the current status were encouraged to leave ballots blank on the second question; the results of the referendum were:

    For the first question of maintaining the status quo: 934,238 (53.99% of the valid votes) voted "No"; 796,007 (46.01% of the valid votes) voted "Yes" and 64,123 (3.5% of the total votes) ballots were left blank

    For the second question: 802,179 (61.15% of the valid votes) voted for "statehood"; 436,997 (33.31% of the valid votes) voted "sovereign free associated state"; 72,551 (5.53% of the valid votes) voted for "independence" and a whopping 468,478 (25.64% of the total votes) ballots were left blank

    Thus statehood has gained a 60+% majority in this referendum and both presidential candidates and parties have said they would support statehood for Puerto Rico if a clear majority favoured it. I'm not sure if the blank ballot protest would be taken into account (additionally the pro-statehood governor lost the gubernatorial election on the same day); but if the current pro-statehood governor were to use the remainder of his term to get the ball rolling and statehood legislation was introduced in Congress...and it gained the support of most members and the President..then Puerto Rico should become a state (maybe in a year at least but perhaps in three years)

    If so what will happen to the Puerto Rican baseball team? Would they still be able to compete in international tournaments rather like Scotland and England compete separately in football, rugby and cricket? Or would the Puerto Rican baseball team have to be wound up into the United States baseball team? Might the 2013 WBC be the last time the Puerto Rican team appears at the WBC?

  2. #2
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    I don't think it would change a thing.

    Constituent countries field separate teams in baseball and other events all the time. The (Kingdom of the) Netherlands has a unified team for the WBC, but subsets of it have played as the Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, Aruba, and Curaçao in the old World Cup and other tournaments. Then there are the two "Chinese" entries.

    The point is, statehood or not, Puerto Rico clearly has an identity distinct from the United States as well as an identity within the United States. If it makes sense to puertorriqueños to have their own team, and that team is competitive, so be it.
    Last edited by Pere; 11-07-2012 at 05:05 PM.

  3. #3
    True, but the difference between those examples and what would happen with Puerto Rico is that Puerto Rico as a state would be the equivalent of Limburg playing separately from the Netherlands, not Aruba. Right now Puerto Rico is separate from the US in the sense of identity and also in some instances legally (the US constitution does not apply in full to Puerto Rico or other US territories currently). And the two "Chinese" entries are down to Cold War events resulting in two competing governments claiming to be the one, true government of a unified China. So for political expediency (and due to pressure from the People's Republic of China) the sporting world just allows a team coming from the area controlled by the government claiming to be the Republic of China to compete under the name "Chinese Taipei". The moment the mainland and Taiwan are reunified under either the ROC or PRC then the two Chinese entries will cease and there will be only one Chinese team.

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    Oh, I was joking about the Chinese. Everybody knows they're entirely separate countries. And while reunification is not gonna happen, if for the sake of argument it did, I'd have no problem with their maintaining separate teams on the basis of the divergence of their cultures.

    The technicalities of legal status really aren't important, IMO, as long as there's some kind of rationale and reasonably objective criteria for making whatever distinction anyone wants to make.

  5. #5
    Hawaii played in the 1940 Baseball World Cup. Then disappeared...

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    Would it be similar to how the IOC makes Great Birtain 1 country while FIFA allows Wales, Scotland, and England to field separate football teams?

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    Then you have the all-Ireland teams in most sports, in which a team drawn from the Republic plus NI (legally part of the UK) may play against a UK team, or against teams from the British constituent countries.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by titorondon View Post
    Hawaii played in the 1940 Baseball World Cup. Then disappeared...

    But Hawaii didn't become a state until 1959. It was still a territory in 1940.

    After 1959, Hawaiians played (and still play) for Team USA.

    But the fact is, Congress creates states, not the President. And there's little chance of them adding Puerto Rico anytime soon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by titorondon View Post
    Hawaii played in the 1940 Baseball World Cup. Then disappeared...
    Quote Originally Posted by ddrapayo View Post
    But Hawaii didn't become a state until 1959. It was still a territory in 1940.

    After 1959, Hawaiians played (and still play) for Team USA.
    I think that answers the original poster's question. If Puerto Rico becomes a state, its residents will play for Team USA.
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  10. #10
    I think if PR becomes a state, that it will continue to field a separate and distinct baseball national team.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Pere View Post
    I don't think it would change a thing.

    Constituent countries field separate teams in baseball and other events all the time. The (Kingdom of the) Netherlands has a unified team for the WBC, but subsets of it have played as the Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, Aruba, and Curaçao in the old World Cup and other tournaments. Then there are the two "Chinese" entries.

    The point is, statehood or not, Puerto Rico clearly has an identity distinct from the United States as well as an identity within the United States. If it makes sense to puertorriqueños to have their own team, and that team is competitive, so be it.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netherl...mpic_Committee

    The International Olympic Committee disagree with you and that is why the Netherlands Antilles National Olympic Committee were disbanded following the Antilles' dissolution two years ago.

    The committee planned to keep its function and name after the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles as a regional indication of the five islands as it would be impossible for Sint Maarten or Curaçao to form their own recognized National Olympic Committee.[2] On 13 January 2011, the IOC however indicated that no legal basis existed for membership of the IOC and confirmed that none of the individual islands could apply for membership following a 1995 decision that membership is only open to sovereign countries. The executive board of the IOC proposed the withdrawal of the membership at the IOC session of July 2011 and took steps to allow athletes to compete at the 2011 Pan American Games (under the PASO flag) as well as the 2012 Olympic Games under the Olympic flag as Independent Olympic Athletes.[3][4] After 2012, Netherlands Antilles athletes can choose to represent either the Netherlands or Aruba.[5]
    I personally am not a fan of the myth that England/Scotland/Wales are all separate countries that gets peddled in some sports. There's one sovereign country: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Honestly, California, Texas, Vermont, West Florida, the Confederacy, were all sovereign countries more recently than them. If the Scots want to be a country, secede. If Puerto Rico wants to be a state, then they are Americans and they would form part of the American team, being a Puerto Rican at that point would be no different than being a Floridian or a Texan or a New Yorker. If Puerto Rico wants to be independent or a commonwealth, then they are Puerto Ricans and they can have their own teams. I live in the formerly sovereign Confederate States of America, we don't have a team in the World Baseball Classic when it would be far better than Spain or Brazil and would stand as much a chance of winning the thing as Puerto Rico would, that's because international competition should be between countries, that is why the concept exists.
    Last edited by Cincy Fan; 01-14-2013 at 11:07 AM.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Cincy Fan View Post
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netherl...mpic_Committee

    The International Olympic Committee disagree with you and that is why the Netherlands Antilles National Olympic Committee were disbanded following the Antilles' dissolution two years ago.



    I personally am not a fan of the myth that England/Scotland/Wales are all separate countries that gets peddled in some sports. There's one sovereign country: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Honestly, California, Texas, Vermont, West Florida, the Confederacy, were all sovereign countries more recently than them. If the Scots want to be a country, secede. If Puerto Rico wants to be a state, then they are Americans and they would form part of the American team, being a Puerto Rican at that point would be no different than being a Floridian or a Texan or a New Yorker. If Puerto Rico wants to be independent or a commonwealth, then they are Puerto Ricans and they can have their own teams. I live in the formerly sovereign Confederate States of America, we don't have a team in the World Baseball Classic when it would be far better than Spain or Brazil and would stand as much a chance of winning the thing as Puerto Rico would, that's because international competition should be between countries, that is why the concept exists.
    The IOC, unlike the IBAF, FIFA, and others, does not allow territories to compete separately at the Olympics. This was not always the case - the rule was not passed until the 1990s, and about a dozen NOCs, including the Netherlands Antilles, Puerto Rico, and others were grandfathered in and not required to disband. However, with the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles into Curacao and other, separate territories, the newly separated territories were not allowed to apply for membership. Likewise, if Puerto Rico did not already have an Olympic Committee, permitting them to compete under their nation at the Olympics, they would not be granted one.

    By the way, the Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa have "national" baseball teams too, although none of them are that good. So does Aruba, a Dutch territory, Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China (and former British overseas territory), and New Calendonia, a French overseas territory. Curacao could in theory get its own baseball team if it wanted to (and likewise Sint Maarten, which also became a separate territory), but for now it is one Kingdom-wide team.

    According to Wikipedia

    "The Netherlands territories of the former Netherlands Antilles in the Caribbean have very strong baseball traditions. A team from Willemstad, Curaçao called the "Curaçao Yankees" won the 2004 Little League World Series and was runner-up in 2005. Each territory has its own baseball federation and in the past, the Netherlands Antilles has fielded its own team in international competitions. In recent years, however, players from Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles have played on the national team of the Netherlands itself, alongside players from continental Europe and a handful of Americans of Dutch descent, resulting in a team with a stronger concentration of talent."

    The Netherlands Antilles fielded its own team until about 1988, and Aruba still does.

    Curacao has its own soccer national team, as did the Netherlands Antilles when they existed.

    However, the Confederate States of America no longer has any status as anything. It's not a separate territory of the US. We don't have a "Republic of Texas" or "California Republic" team either, because those are now part of the United States and do not have any special status.

    For what it's worth, some quixotic folks Washington, DC are trying to get recognition from the IOC as a separate national committee. Their logic is that DC, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands are part of the United States, but each have only one, nonvoting representative in Congress, and no Senators. All of those except DC have their own NOC. However, since this effort only started in 2005, and the IOC has banned territories competing separately since the 1990s (except for those grandfathered in) their efforts are in vain - even if they had a serious case, they made it too late and the IOC changed the rules. However, this is more of a political effort than a sports one, anyway, so I doubt they care. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distric...mpic_Committee

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by ddrapayo View Post
    The IOC, unlike the IBAF, FIFA, and others, does not allow territories to compete separately at the Olympics. This was not always the case - the rule was not passed until the 1990s, and about a dozen NOCs, including the Netherlands Antilles, Puerto Rico, and others were grandfathered in and not required to disband. However, with the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles into Curacao and other, separate territories, the newly separated territories were not allowed to apply for membership. Likewise, if Puerto Rico did not already have an Olympic Committee, permitting them to compete under their nation at the Olympics, they would not be granted one.
    Thanks.

    By the way, the Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa have "national" baseball teams too, although none of them are that good. So does Aruba, a Dutch territory...
    If there's going to be a Dutch Caribbean team in the future made up of guys from Aruba and Curacao, it'll be known as Aruba. I'd imagine top players if wanting to participate in international baseball would play for the Netherlands (more money there, bigger country, and qualifying a team out of Europe is easier than the Americas).

    Although thinking about the Dutch in the area, why do Aruba and Curacao play baseball and Suriname doesn't?

    Curacao has its own soccer national team, as did the Netherlands Antilles when they existed.
    FIFA has always allowed territories to compete. CONCACAF (North America, Central America, Caribbean) has 35 World Cup-eligible national teams when the number of sovereign countries is much less. In reality this serves to help pad the Caribbean's voting margin regionally and more money gets passed out to them where places have national teams from places where if every person in the territory/island showed up, they might not fill an NFL stadium.

    The only places in the region that can't qualify for the World Cup are the French possessions because they are departments of France, and I guess a French department is roughly the equivalent of a U.S. state. Those are Saint-Martin, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and French Guiana.

    However, the Confederate States of America no longer has any status as anything. It's not a separate territory of the US. We don't have a "Republic of Texas" or "California Republic" team either, because those are now part of the United States and do not have any special status.
    Yes I know. Scotland though was last an independent country more than 400 years ago. For the Confederacy, a little less than 150 years. That's why I'm bringing it up.
    Last edited by Cincy Fan; 01-15-2013 at 12:46 PM.

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