Saturday, May 17, 2008

Learn To Play Baseball in the Domincan Republic

I was doing research about the Dominican Baseball Academies where many MLB prospects come from, and I came across a site that took me completely by surprise:

“Baseball players age 18 and under (separate sessions are also available for college age players) are welcome to attend our 7 day/6 night baseball trip to the Dominican Republic (see dates/college guest coaches). The camp is 30 miles east of Santo Domingo, in the the seaside town of Boca Chica, where we will immerse ourselves in baseball and the Dominican culture. We will practice and participate in the same drills done by Dominican baseball players and play in daily games against Dominicans. These games will be a highlight of the trip and will expose our players to the spirited style of play the locals are known for. Individual players or teams are welcome.”

Before I was able to read the paragraph in full, I was completely enraged. I thought this was a stupid, horrible idea trying to trick parents to sending their children down to the Dominican Republic to see if the talent of Dominican Republic children can rub off on our American boys.

As I continued to read, my anger decreased a little, but there is a lot I still see wrong about this. The trip takes place at the Boca Chica beach. I worry that the children and teenagers that go on these trips do not get a full picture about what life is like in the Dominican Republic. I couldn’t find any testimonials online, so my feelings can’t be proven but they are still legitimate concerns.

Have you ever been to Jamaica, or know someone who has been to Jamaica on a cruise? If you do a tour of the country, they obviously put a positive spin on everything that is going on there. I am not saying that there are only poverty stricken areas in the Dominican Republic, but I fear that these young, Impressionable minds will not get the whole picture of what it is like to live in the Dominican Republic.

A positive aspect of this program is that the players from America not only play against the Dominicans, but they also eat together as well. This is an interesting idea because the players can bond. However there are still issues here, the main one being a language boundary and the cynical reader could also say that the Dominican players are probably told tone down social issues (or the players might not represent all the social classes in the Dominican Republic). Of course, that same argument can be made about players from the United States, that they do not represent all of the social classes.

Overall, I am very skeptical about this program, but if they made more culture based and try to portray an unbiased view of the country, this program could have a lot of potential. If you want to visit the site, it can be found here.

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