If baseball is America’s pastime, the sport is the Dominican Republic’s passion. With the start of the World Series in the United States, 3rd basemen Cewil Ramirez shares with us a little something of Dominican baseball and the passion it inspires at home and abroad.
Dominicans are a passionate people, and we are really passionate about our favorite sport: baseball. It’s a game loved and cherished all over the Dominican Republic, and the dream of many a young boy to make it to the United States to play as a professional for one of the Major League Baseball teams.
Here at home, while people the world over are having World Series fever, we Dominicans have another reason to celebrate: the beginning of the Dominican Republic Professional Baseball League’s winter season, which runs from October through January. And because baseball is by far our country’s most popular sport, that’s big news.
The inaugural game was held on October 16th. Now six teams will battle it out to see who will have the pride and honor to be called the baseball champions of the Dominican Republic. The teams are:
- Águilas Cibaeñas (Cibao Eagles)
- Estrellas de Oriente (Eastern Stars)
- Gigantes del Cibao (Giants of the Cibao)
- Leones del Escogido (Lions of the Chosen One)
- Tigres del Licey (Licey Tigers)
- Toros del Este (Eastern Bulls)
Many of the MLB players who shine in the United States return to their native land to participate in the winter season games. Except, of course, those who are still fighting to be crowned the MLB champions. Among the Dominican players that play professionally for either the Kansas City Royals or the San Francisco Giants are Kelvin Herrera and Yordano Ventura, both pitchers for the Kansas City Royals, as well as Joaquin Arias (3rd base), Santiago Casilla (pitcher) and Juan Perez (outfield), who play for the San Francisco Giants.
The list of those MLB players who have at some point in their careers returned home to play in the Dominican Republic Professional Baseball League’s winter season (as long as their team allows them to do so, of course) is long and distinguished.
For instance, we have:
- David Ortiz (Boston Red Sox)
- Manny Ramirez (former Boston Red Sox)
- Vladimir Guerrero (Anaheim Angels)
- Robinson Cano (Seattle Mariners)
- Fernando Abad (Oakland Atlhetics)
- Antonio Alfonseca (Philadelphia Philies)
- Samuel Deduno (Houston Astros)
- Edwin Encarnacion (Toronto Blue Jays)
In fact, a total of 80 Domincans play professional ball for an MLB team.
The six teams play in five stadiums located in different regions of the Dominican Republic. Two teams call Santo Domingo their home, with other teams located in San Francisco de Macoris, San Pedro de Macoris and La Romana. The latter stadium is just one hour from Punta Cana/Bavaro and just 15 minutes outside the hotel zone in La Romana.
If you’re a baseball fan and plan to visit the Dominican Republic, there is truly nothing as fascinating as attending a local baseball game, especially in winter season when you can see some of your fan favorites playing at home. The passion and love for the game is a not only a sight to behold, it’s also extremely contagious.
“Baseball is an important part of Dominican Republic’s remarkable history and fascinating culture,” said Magaly Toribio, Vice Minister of International Promotion for the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism.
“Visitors can soak up the sun and catch a winter league game featuring baseball’s stars of tomorrow. Game goers can also explore our 1,000 miles of breathtaking coastline, pristine beaches, historic monuments and museums, and world-class resorts. The destination offers it all, but the experience of enjoying a Dominican baseball game is unparalleled around the world and uniquely Dominican.”
So whenever you come to visit us, let us know so that we can organize a trip for you to a baseball game in the heart of the Caribbean.
All images via lidom.com