Baseball fans cheered as the United States played against Puerto Rico this past Wednesday.  This was the first time that the US had been in a WBC final.  As for Puerto Rico, it was not the rookie team, for it had already been in the WBC finals in 2013 and lost to the Dominican Republic.  During the 2017 WBC game, baseball aficionados cheered when the United States won its first WBC title.

The controversy at the WBC final was not about the team that won the game nor about the way that the game was played.  The controversy is that Puerto Rico decided to play as a separate nation from the United States even though Puerto Rico is a commonwealth that is a part of the United States.  Puerto Rico does have the right to participate in a championship game as an independent nation.  Since Puerto Rico decided to participate as a nation, some Americans think that the beautiful island is a country rather than a territory of the US.

You should not be surprised that some Americans are not geographically literate since there is not enough emphasis placed on the importance of geography in our educational system.  There are few, if any, geographical questions on the SAT exam.  During job interviews, potential employees are not asked any geographical questions.  On the televised news, maps are not used, as much as they should be, to explain the conflicts that America has with other nations.  If you want to learn geography in America, then you must study on your own.  Of course, there is nothing wrong with self-study to expand your horizons.  President Abraham Lincoln taught himself to read and write.

Social media sites do educate the public about many important issues, but unfortunately some of them are not doing a good job when it comes down to geographical literacy.  Facebook, one of the most popular social media sites, lists Puerto Rico as a country.  Of course, Facebook employees know that the island is a territory of the United States.  The reason that Facebook names Puerto Rico as a nation is that they do not have a grouping for territory.  All the young people who frequently search Facebook to find pertinent information are not being educated since they will believe that Puerto Rico is a nation after looking at Facebook.  With the many gadgets and apps that Facebook has invented, why can’t they add a territory category for Puerto Rico?

Some Puerto Ricans will even deny that Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States.  When you ask them where they were born in informal conversation, some of them will reply that they were born in the country of Puerto Rico and not in the United States.  They will also describe the United States as a great land of economic opportunity that they love.  Many Puerto Ricans do know that their beloved homeland is a territory of the United States, but they say that they were born in the country of Puerto Rico to show how proud they are of their cultural heritage.

Another point of contention surrounding the WBC is about star pitcher Marcus Stroman who pitches for the Toronto Blue Jays.  Since Stroman’s  mother, Adlin Auffant, is Puerto Rican, Stroman could have pitched for Puerto Rico, but he decided to pitch for the US instead.   Stroman, as well as his mom, Auffant, both received some unkind remarks for his decision to play for the US.  Just because he made the choice to play for the United States, does not mean that he does not respect his cultural heritage.

As a WBC fan, do you think that Puerto Rico made the right decision to play as an independent nation against the United States?