Sovereignty at the WBC

How strangely inconsistent the question of sovereignty is dealt with
at the World Baseball Classic and other international sporting events.
While the American announcers in the first round of the WBC made such a
point of never saying that Taiwan was playing in this tournament, but
rather “Chinese Taipei,” in clear deference to the government in
mainland China, the announcers of the Puerto Rico-Netherlands matchup
last night referred to the “nation of Puerto Rico.”

So while great pains are being made to treat Taiwan as a Chinese
province in official commentary (complete with graphics and uniforms
that say “Chinese Taipei”, which actually was very confusing to figure
out who this team was at first), the question of Puerto Rico and its
own status is treated cavalierly and imprecisely.

There are a lot of sensitivies in Puerto Rico about its relationship
with the US, especially with regard to whether it should be the 51st
state or not. But at this point, few voices, except those on ESPN2,
seem to be pushing for outright independence. But how much of the
American public thinks that Puerto Rico is a separate country?

Sometimes sports is a good reflection of the real world, and other times it provides a real funhouse mirror of geo-politics.

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