There had been various US media coverage of Puerto Rican fans and their energetic loudness and commitment in the first round of baseball games. Puerto Rico’s pride for their baseball team is clear as day, especially since iconic baseball player Roberto Clemente rose from said small island. The fans’ dedication shines through in videos from MLB Fox on social media with comments like “Puerto Ricans are LOUD in Miami” and in New York Times articles referencing their dancing and drumming: “Puerto Ricans celebrate their wins and the losses.”
Back on the island, supporters of what Puerto Ricans call their “team Rubio” (ever since the team jokingly dyed their hair blonde after losing to the US in 2017, and fans in PR began doing the same) are felt all throughout the island. These loud cultures and costumes were different from what Miami’s LoanDepot Park had experienced.
However, this last game was a bit different. Out of the four games Puerto Rico would play in for the first round, this last one against the Dominican Republic was the most awaited one. Not just because the fact that the Dominican Republic is a reputably good team but because DR and PR are not just neighbors in location; they are also brothers in culture. The fact that the games are taking place in Miami also adds to the excitement. This time instead of just one side of the stands chanting and singing with tambourines and “güiros,” both sides were seen doing this, sometimes even together.
Upon witnessing the winning moment against Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico’s fans were heard and felt all throughout Miami. Artists like Daddy Yankee and Marc Anthony were seen screaming, hugging, and jumping in the stands, and iconic Puerto Rican boxer Tito Trinidad was seen carried out on top of the shoulders of a Puerto Rican stampede with his baseball hat raised high in dignity. Crowds of Puerto Ricans walking out of the stadium were heard singing and chanting, “Long live Puerto Rico.” And back on the island, public places that were streaming the game were shaking due to the screaming and jumping of the people inside them. This support was noted by the team in a video they recorded after the victory, thanking Puerto Rico for their unmatchable support: “Puerto Rico, we felt your support, you never gave up… this isn’t over yet, we’re going all in!”
However, this unimaginable and euphoric response to their winning throw may have cost them a player. Since right after Sugar Diaz threw the winning ball, he got injured during the celebration of it right on the field, impeding his ability to keep playing for the team. He is expected to undergo surgery for his right knee and to lose out on the team’s rest of the season.
This isn’t the only downfall, because the morning after their big win and teammate loss, it was announced that their first game of the quarterfinals, which was meant to happen on Saturday 18, was moved to Friday 17 so that the US game against Venezuela could take place Saturday instead. This gives the US an additional rest day and leaves Puerto Rico with one less day of rest.