Saturday, April 28, 2012

Dominican baseball player Jordany Valdespin makes debut for Mets

Ranked as the number six prospect in the Mets system at the start of the year, Dominican baseball player Jordany Valdespin made his debut with the big league club this week.  He is a career infielder, but the Mets brought him up to play some outfield and serve as an all-around utility player, a la Martin Prado in Atlanta or Emilio Bonifacio in Miami.

The Dominican baseball player Valdespin made his first appearance on Monday and also played on Thursday for the Mets.  He is yet to get on base in four at bats in those two games.  But people around the Mets organization have no doubts about his potential as a big league starter:
  • “From a physical ability standpoint, he’s the closest thing to Jose Reyes,” said ex-Mets general manager Omar Minaya.
  • “His skills? Off the charts,” said Mets manager Terry Collins. 
Valdespin is from San Pedro de Macoris, Republica Dominicana.  His Dominican background led him to befriend fellow Dominican baseball player Jose Reyes.  The two met when Valdespin came to Mets spring training in 2010.  Reyes has counseled Valdespin about on-field issues, but also encouraged him to grow and mature off the field.

In this mentor role, Jose Reyes is continuing a tradition of established Dominican baseball players counseling young and up and coming Dominican players.  David Ortiz has been known as a mentor for young Dominicans for many years, and others have done the same.  It is a major transition for Dominican baseball players new to the big league game, and the country more generally.

Dominican baseball players like Jose Reyes and David Ortiz are doing a great service for their countrymen by helping to ease the transition for young players such as Jordany Valdespin.
Mets Dominican player in the minor leagues in 2011
Dominican baseball player Jordany Valdespin in the minor leagues in 2011, photo by Paul Hadsall on Flickr

Friday, April 27, 2012

Another day, another Dominican minor league baseball player suspended for performance enhancing drugs

Cleveland Indians minor leaguer Harold Guerrero has been suspended for 50 games after a first positive test for performance enhancing drugs.  Harold Guerrero is from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Dominican baseball players getting busted for performance enhancing drugs has been an ongoing issue, since the MLB implemented it's new drug testing program.  The most famous incidence is of course Domincian baseball player Manny Ramirez receiving two suspensions and abruptly retiring after the second 100 game suspension.  The Dominican Baseball Guy recently blogged about two Dominican prospects in the Twins system getting suspended for performance enhancing drugs.

Dominican baseball players are under a lot of pressure to produce, more so than most American players.  In many cases young Dominican players have the hopes of their whole family riding on their abilities as baseball players.  

Furthermore, young Dominican players are often pressured from their trainers, also known as buscones in the Dominican Republic.  Buscones get a bad wrap for only looking out for themselves, to the detriment of their players, but all the buscones that the Dominican Baseball Guy knows are truly out for the best interest of their players, not solely trying to make money off their players.

With that caveat mentioned, their are probably trainers that give their players banned supplements without the knowledge of the players.  The Dominican Baseball Guy would venture to guess that in many cases the buscones themselves do not even know a particular substance is banned.  Also, many drugs that require a subscription from a doctor are available over the counter in the Dominican Republic.

So, the classic, "I did not know that I put that in my body" excuse actually holds some weight when it comes to Dominican baseball players and performance enhancing drugs.  With all that said, the list of banned substances is surely made readily available to all players in the majors and minors, and the Dominican baseball players always have the option to ask a staff trainer about a particular product.

While the Dominican Baseball Guy feels for young Dominican players like Guerrero that get suspended, it is up to them to not put these banned products in their body, despite much of the deck being stacked against them.
Dominican Manny Ramirez, the most notable Dominican baseball player to be
suspended for performance enhancing drugs, photo by shgmom56 on Flickr

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Corpus Christi Hooks hold on for 5-4 win in roller coaster affair

Lead off hitter Austin Wates went 3-5 with an RBI and designated hitter Kody Hinze had a home run and 2 RBI to lead the Hooks to a win over the Midland Rockhounds on Thursday.  Jake Buchanan pitched 6.2 solid innings for the Hooks and allowed 3 earned runs in getting the no decision.

The Hooks closed out a home-stand and moved to 11-9, good for second in the Texas League southern division.  The Hooks now hit the road for eight games.  The Rockhounds fell to 10-10, but they are still right in the hunt in the Texas League southern division.

The home team scored one run in the first to open the scoring and followed that with two runs in the second, including an RBI from Wates.  It was part of a three hit night for the right fielder, that also included a diving catch to rob a base hit in the eighth inning.  As a lead off hitter, Wates knows his jobs is to get on base.

"The guys behind me I know are very talented and able to drive me in," Wates said in a post game interview.  "That is what I love about this team, if one guy doesn't pick it up, we know someone else will."

The two teams appeared to be evenly matched in the four game series which they split.  And it showed in this game, as the Rockhounds did not let the Hooks run away with the win.  The Rockhounds answered the Hooks with three runs in the third and fourth innings. Tyler Ladendorf had an RBI in the third and Ryan Lipkin had a two RBI hit in the fourth for the Rockhounds.

That would be all the scoring for the Rockhounds.  Kody Hinze tied the game for the Hooks in the fifth.  Then the Hooks took the lead for good on a Hinze home run in the seventh.  Hinze is ready to continue the team's success tonight on the upcoming road trip.

"Frisco is in first place (in the Texas League southern division), so we have to go get them a little," Hinze said.

The game was an exciting affair, as it featured three lead changes and two ties.  The teams also combined to leave 18 runners on base.

James Simmons got the loss for the Rockhounds.  Kevin Chapman and Jason Stoffel combined for two innings of stellar relief to close the game out for the Hooks.

NOTES: Dominican baseball players in the game were Jonathan Villar (La Vega, Dominican Republic) for the Hooks, and pitcher Jonathan Ortiz (Bani, Republica Dominicana) for the Rockhounds.
Always love this shot from the 1st base line, players, coaches, umpires, and fans
Dominican baseball player Jonathan Villar bats for the Corpus Christi Hooks
Slip slidin, the third run crosses for the Hooks in the 2nd inning
One of the players of the game, Austin Wates, moments after a spectacular diving catch

*All photos by Dominican Baseball Guy.  See the full album on the Dominican Baseball Guy Facebook.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dominican baseball documentary "Pelotero" screened recently

"Pelotero" the movie played at the Port Jefferson Documentary Series on Monday.

Bobby Valentine's company produced the movie and it was directed and shot by Guagua Productions.  The film is making the rounds at some film festivals and special screenings.  It will see limited release this Summer.

The Dominican baseball documentary follows Twins uber-prospect Miguel Sano and another prospect on their way to signing a contract with an MLB team.

Visit Pelotero the movie for clips from the movie and more, or find it on Facebook.
Photo courtesy of Pelotero the movie on Facebook

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Twins struggle with what to do with Dominican pitcher Liriano

Dominican pitcher Francisco Liriano has shown extended flashes of brilliance in his six plus years in the majors with the Twins.  Rookie of the Year, out a year with Tommy John Surgery, then some down years, and then Comeback Player of the Year.  He has shown top of the rotation stuff, but has been inconsistent at best.

The Twins are frustrated with the Dominican pitcher and do not know what to do with him.  They feel they have tried almost everything.  The latest ploy: letting him sit out a start after a bad first four games.  Twins GM Terry Ryan says his stuff is fine, his health is fine, his location is what is missing.  Twins staff also says that Liriano often overcompensates for problems in his mechanics.  Translation: the mental part of his game has never been up to elite level.

Liriano can be a dominating pitcher when he puts it all together.  He pitched at elite level in the Dominican Winter League the last two years.  He needs to bring the same intensity and mental toughness he has shown in stretches to his game everyday.  That would make him the elite pitcher that he is capable of being.

Dominican pitcher Francisco Liriano is from San Cristobal, Dominican Republic.
Dominican pitcher Francisco Liriano with the Twins, photo by Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar on Flickr

Monday, April 23, 2012

Dominican Player of the Week: Juan Francisco of the Atlanta Braves

The Dominican Baseball Guy has awarded Juan Francisco of the Braves as his Dominican Player of the Week. Juan hit .375 with three home runs last week, and got some votes for player of the week in the National League.

It is no secret Juan Francisco is one of the favorite players of the Dominican Baseball Guy.  He was playing with the Gigantes del Cibao in 2009, the year I followed the Gigantes for the entire Dominican Winter Baseball League (LIDOM) season.  That year he won the MVP of the Dominican Winter League, and he also won it in 2009.  He was either at the top or close to the top of the LIDOM in home runs, RBI, and average in both of those years.

He had a slower year this past off-season in the LIDOM.  As he has gotten closer and closer to securing a regular big league gig, his playing time in LIDOM has gone down.  He had played in 81 big league games going into this season for the Reds, but they decided to trade him this off-season.

His power is his calling card.  Juan is one of the best guys to see in batting practice.  Kids line the outside of the stadium waiting for him to hit them balls, which they will use to play at their own games and practices.  During games, the stadium always stopped for Juan Francisco, aka "El Diamante."  Not sure where the nickname came from, but during that year the announcers started calling him "The Diamond of Bonao."  Francisco is from Bonao, Republica Dominicana.  I saw him hit one shot in San Francisco de Macoris at the Julian Javier stadium that I swore went over the lights.  We all lost it in the lights, and people were saying "he hit it to the moon."

Lots of people say that he is a below average fielder and that he strikes out a lot.  And he does.  But the Dominican Baseball Guy still thinks he is going to be a star, as I predicted two years ago when I first saw him play in Dominican Winter League action.  I think his power and his clutch play will be enough to outweigh deficiencies elsewhere.  He won a lot of games for the Gigantes that season with late inning heroics.  And, after all, I cannot go back on my prediction now.

The only other Dominican player to receive votes in the player of the week race in either league was Rafael Furcal of Loma de Cabrera, Dominican Republic.
Dominican player of the week Juan Francisco bats in the Midwest League in 2007, photo by Joel Dinda on Flickr

Friday, April 20, 2012

All-Star game voting: Baseball fans in the Dominican Republic have chance to vote this year

Every year the Major League All-Star game and festivities seem to grow. There is the Futures Game, a celebrity softball game, and of course the Home Run Derby. And the voting has expanded greatly, especially since internet voting opened a few years back.

Nowadays fans can vote at the stadiums, at a number of voting stations, and online throughout the world. So, Dominicans in the Dominican Republic have had the opportunity to vote online since that voting method was put into place. But this year they will be able to vote at Banco BHD banks throughout the country.

Banco BHD will sponsor All-Star Balloting in the Dominican Republic.  Spanish-language ballots will be available to fans in the Dominican Republic via LasMayores.com, the official Spanish-language web site of MLB, and at All-Star Balloting terminals across more than 80 branches, beginning in May.

Being that internet access is not very widespread in the Dominican Republic, this is good news for Dominican baseball fans. On the other hand, any Dominican fan that wanted to vote would have probably made their way to an internet connection and figured out how to vote. Add in the fact that the Dominican Republic has a population of only ten million, and this initiative will probably have little effect on the final All-Star rosters. 

At least it gives Dominicans that choose to vote more access to their beloved game. And enough Americans vote on Dominican baseball players that if they are the best player at their position they usually get in, nationalistic tendencies be damned.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Dominican girls: Carlina Duran of La Vega, Republica Dominicana crowned Miss Dominican Republic

I am the Dominican Baseball Guy, so I blog about baseball in the Dominican Republic and Dominican peloteros playing in the United States.  The MLB season is fully underway and their are over 90 Dominican players in Major League Baseball this year.  But sometimes the Dominican Baseball Guy has to mention other important things taking place with Dominican culture...like Dominican women and chicas Dominicanas.

So, Carlina Duran was just crowned Miss Dominican Republic and will represent her country in the Miss Universe pageant.  You can find Carlina on Facebook.  And that is about all the Dominican Baseball Guy has to say on that issue.

Just check out the photos of this beautiful Dominican girl.
Dominican women, crowning of Miss Dominican Republic
Miss Dominican Republic 2012, Carlina Duran, photo by conectate.com.do
Dominicana desde La Vega, photo by Julius Federova
Carlin Duran, Miss Republica Dominicana Universo 2012, photo by Edil Mendez

Monday, April 16, 2012

Latin baseball players celebrate Jackie Robinson day, Latinos celebran el dia de Jacki Robinson

Latin and Dominican baseball players celebrated Jackie Robinson Day on Sunday, along with all of Major League Baseball.  The entire league wore Robinson's number 42.

It is well known that Robinson was the first African-American to play in the big leagues, and that he opened the door for all the black baseball players after him.  However, Latin baseball players have also seen Robinson as a pioneer, because before him there were very few Latin players admitted into MLB.

There were some Latin players that played in the big leagues, often because they "looked" white, but for the most part Jackie Robinson is the reason that Latin baseball players were later admitted into the league.  And current players know this.

"This is a very special day for all Latin players," Blanco said. "It means a lot to be able to wear his number. He opened up opportuntiies for eveyone and not only helped baseball but also helped the world."
Elsewhere, Dominican player Robinson Cano celebrated in New York, as other Dominicans throughout the league surely did.  Robinson Cano is from San Pedro de Macoris, the major baseball city in the Dominican Republic.  
Happy Jackie Robinson Day!  All of MLB whore his #42 Sunday

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Dominican prospect has lots of fans with family in Dominican Republic

Like most Dominican prospects, Kelvin Herrera came to play baseball in the United States by himself. He left his family in the Dominican Republic, along with friends and his baseball family (fellow Dominican prospects and coaches).

All the while, at least in the case of Herrera, he has had his family back in the Dominican Republic supporting him. His mother says she received calls at all hours of the night every time he advanced up the organizational ladder. She was happy to take them.

His goal is to stay healthy and stay in the big leagues. It will be a tough task, as the Royals bullpen is very deep. Manager Ned Yost says Herrera "has a chance," and the Royals say they will not hesitate to move bullpen pitchers between the big leagues and AAA.

Herrera hopes to remain a part of the major league side and continue to make his family in the Dominican Republic proud. "My family is so proud of me," Herrera told MLB.com. "Every time I got closer to my goal, my mother would encourage me not to get complacent. She always said that you have to keep working hard to get the best out of yourself."

Dominican prospect Kelvin Herrera is from Tenares, Dominican Republic.
Dominican prospect Kelvin Herrera of the Royals has lots of fans in Dominican Republic
Dominican prospect Kelvin Herrera pitches for the Royals, by Keith Allison on Flickr

Friday, April 13, 2012

Miguel Tejada ready to play ball

Miguel Tejada is ready to join an MLB team as soon as one comes calling.

The 37 year old Tejada is nearing the end of his MLB career, but should still have a couple good years left.  He played in 91 games last year for the Giants.  While his offensive output is down from his peak, he is still a very good fielder and can play three infield positions.

Adam Brush has been training with Tejada in Florida for several years.  A former college player that is a National Strength and Conditioning Association certified trainer, Brush has worked with a number of big league players including Manny Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Ramon Hernandez, Luis Hernandez, Juan Rincon, and Ardolis Chapman.  He is the owner of Five Tool Baseball Performance Training.

According to Brush, Tejada looks great and is ready to go.

"Miguel is a joy to work with.  He absolutely loves the game of baseball, and playing the game is what he wants to do.  He knows what it takes to play in the big leagues, and he knows that he can still produce at that MLB level," Brush said through a phone call.

Continuing, Brush says, "I first worked with Miguel over five years and he looks as good as he ever has.  He is taking over 200 ground balls and hitting four days a week.  And we are doing baseball strength and conditioning work three times per week.  He is working extremely hard, so that when he does get a phone call, he is ready to go."

A native of the Dominican Republic, Tejada is a legend in his home country.  He has played 15 seasons in the major leagues, but has actually played more years than that in the Dominican Winter League (LIDOM).  Tejada is known as "the nation's ball player" or "the patriot player" in his home country, due to his prowess on the field in LIDOM action and his ability to represent Dominican baseball through numerous avenues.

Adam Brush witnessed the love that Dominicans have for Tejada during a training trip to the Dominican Republic.  They went to a LIDOM game one night.

Brush explains, "he stood up, got in the aisle to leave, and the entire stadium went crazy.  There were people yelling his name, taking pictures with their cell phones.  It was like a rock star.  It blew me away because I had never seen anything like it in my life."

"The Dominican baseball fans are absolutely unbelievable fans," said Brush.

A career .286 hitter, Tejada has played in Oakland, Baltimore, Houston, San Diego, and San Francisco.  He is a 6 time all-star and former MVP winner, so at the very least he is a great mentor for young players, especially Dominican players.  Miguel is from Bani, Dominican Republic.
Dominican baseball star Miguel Tejada with the Orioles in 2007, photo by Keith Allison on Flickr

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Rangers dominate Mariners in 5-2 win, behind 4 RBI from Michael Young

Derek Holland pitched 7 and 1/3 innings and allowed two runs to pick up the win for the Rangers over the Mariners on Thursday. The win was the 13th win in 14 decisions for Holland, dating back to last year. Micheal Young was 3-4, including a home and 4 RBI for the Rangers.

The defending AL champion Rangers took the series 3-1. They moved to 5-2 on the 7 day home stand to start the year, and now hit the road for 9 games. The Mariners moved to .500 on the year.

Young opened the scoring in the bottom of the first with an RBI single. He added a 2 run home run in the 5th. Young has a .329 lifetime average with runners in scoring position, and he showed once again why he is such a feared hitter in RBI situations.

Mike Adams gave up a run in the 9th, but still got the save for the Rangers.

Seattle scored three runs which would turn out to be meaningless. Alex Liddi, the lone Italian player in MLB this season, had an RBI. Kyle Seager had a solo home run for the M’s in the 6th inning.  And Dominican baseball player Miguel Olivo had an RBI in the 9th.

NOTES: Dominicans playing were Nelson Cruz (Monte Cristi), Adrian Beltre (Santo Domingo), and Miguel Olivo (Villa Vasquez).
pic.twitter.com/W7xPJvPJ
Pre-game from the right field upper deck, photo by Bonzer Wolf aka @BonzerWolf

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Dominican player Vladimir Guerrero arrested in Dominican Republic, denies role in bar brawl

Dominican player Vladimir Guererro has turned himself in to police in the Dominican Republic following an altercation at a bar. Bar fights in the Dominican Republic seem to be a big issue with Dominican baseball players. Who can forget Dominican player Angel Villalona pretty much ruining his career over a bar stool fight on a winter visit back home?

For his part, Guererro is claiming he is innocent. ''At no time did I attack anyone, nor was I fleeing,'' Guerrero told the AP. ''I presented myself at the jail last night after the complaint from the disco, and this morning first thing I went to the police that are handling the case.''

Looks like your typical Dominican baseball player wrongly accused and possible extortion attempt on a well-known player. But who knows. It seems like a minor incident even if the prosecutors follow through with the charges. It sounds like Vladdy bumped a police officer when they were trying to break up a fight.

For all the lack of law and order in the Dominican Republic, it sure seems that Dominican baseball players end up in a lot of legal troubles in their home country. That is the major reason the Dominican Baseball Guy often thinks 'extortion' rather than the player is 'guilty' upon hearing of Dominican player legal problems.

Vladimir spent last season with the Orioles and hit .290 and 13 home runs. He is still unsigned for this season and is looking for a job. The former MVP is from Nizao, Dominican Republic.
Vladimir Guerrero plays with the Orioles in 2011
Dominican beisbol player Vladimir Guerrero pictured last year with the Orioles,
photo by Keith Allison on Flickr

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Father and son donate baseball equipment to Dominican baseball players

The Dominican Baseball Guy has blogged on Dominican Baseball charities a number of times. There are several major leaguers that have charitable organizations that contribute to Dominican baseball and there are some non-profits that contribute to Dominican baseball.

In this case, a father and a son have taken it upon themselves to deliver equipment to Dominican baseball players in need. The Lakeland, Florida father-son duo, Sean and Ryan McEnroe visited the Dominican Republic on Spring Break and saw the need Dominican baseball players have for equipment in the Dominican Republic.

Ryan was exciting and happy to share the equipment:
They knew right away what to do with it. They started throwing the balls around. Up here (in the US) everyone wants a certain kind of bat, but down there, they were just happy to have a bat.
No doubt, kids know what to do with the equipment. One of the reasons Dominican baseball players are so good is that many of them grow up playing with rocks, sticks, and milk cartons for gloves. When they finally get 'real' equipment the game is easy for them.

There is certainly plenty of need for baseball equipment in the Dominican Republic. I throw whatever extra equipment I may have in my bag every time I go down, and just give it to kids I meet in the streets or at games. So, if you visit the Dominican Republic takes a few gloves and give them away. Every bit helps. Or better yet, do what the McEnroes did and take down a bunch of equipment.
Ryan McEnroe (back) recently delivered baseball equipment to children in need in the Dominican Republic.Contributed photograph
Ryan McEnroe delivers equipment to Dominican baseball players, photo by the McEnroes

Monday, April 9, 2012

Baseball in the Dominican Republic has equal with Football in Samoa

Any reader of The Dominican Baseball Guy and any fan of Major League Baseball undoubtedly knows that baseball rules in the Dominican Republic.  Baseball is the culture in the Dominican Republic.  Kids, adults, men, and women all play the game.  Men want to be professional baseball players and women want to date them.  In very few countries does one sport dominate the culture of the country as it does with baseball in the Dominican Republic.

But in one place there is a sport that influences the national culture just like baseball does in the Dominican Republic, and that is with American Football in American Samoa.  Noted sports historian Rob Ruck tackles the subject of Football in Samoa in his latest book, Fa’a Samoa: So close to God, so far from the United States: American Football in American Samoa and Among the Diaspora. And he will speak on the book this Wednesday at the University of West Virginia.

Ruck has written extensively on baseball in the Dominican Republic, so he knows how a sport can affect the culture of a country.  His book, The Tropic of Baseball, is one of the seminal works on baseball in the Dominican Republic.  The Dominican Baseball Guy has blogged on Rob Ruck and other Dominican baseball books several times previously.

Anyone interested in sports and culture should get this latest work on Samoan Football from Rob Ruck, as well as his previous work The Tropic of Baseball, or any of his work that focuses extensively on sports and cultural history.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Dominican baseball players on MLB rosters 2012

Every year Major League Baseball releases a list of foreign baseball players on MLB rosters.  And Dominican baseball players have dominated this list for last decade plus.  Last year there were 86 Dominican players on opening day rosters, the same number of Dominicans on MLB teams in 2010.

This year, the number went up and Dominican baseball players still lead the way in foreigners in Major League Baseball, by far.  Overall, there are 243 foreign players on Opening Day rosters out of 856 total active or disabled list players.  That comes out 28.4 percent, the third highest percentage of foreign players ever.  

And the Dominican baseball players on MLB rosters in 2012?  There are 95 Dominican players on Opening Day rosters, the most since 2007 and the second most number of Dominican players ever to start the year in the big leagues.  And it comes out to 11% of all the players in the major leagues coming from the Dominican Republic.

See the list of all foreign MLB players by country too.  The Royals have the most foreign born players with thirteen.  All 30 teams have at least one Dominican baseball player on their roster.  The Detroit Tigers lead the way with seven Dominican players and the Blue Jays, Marlins, and Cubs each have six Dominican players.
Dominican flag

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Dominican baseball player Johnny Cueto to open season for Reds, Dominicano lanza por Rojos hoy

As the Dominican Baseball Guy writes Dominican pitcher Johnny Cueto has opened the season for the Reds, as their ace.  Thus far, he has a 0.00 ERA...through 3 innings...

Cueto had a 2.34 ERA in 150 plus inning last year, and has improved every year he has been in the big leagues.  He thinks he is ready to be the ace.  The Dominican Baseball Guy agrees.

According to Marc Sheldon and MLB.com:
Cueto, a native of the Dominican Republic, did not speak English publicly and was initially uneasy with the adjustment to life at the top level of the game. He missed home cooking, among other things, and gravitated to fellow Dominicans on the team like Volquez, who became his best friend.
These are exactly the kind of issues that MLB team cultural education programs are trying to address, as with the Brewers cultural development program for Latin and Dominican players.  Johnny Cueto is not alone among Dominican baseball players in "missing home cooking."  As the Dominican Baseball Guy just blogged, lack Dominican food is one of the big adjustments that Dominican players have to make  as big leaguers.

Only a few teams have cultural development programs where players learn things like English, and how to adjust to culture shock of new food.  The Dominican Baseball Guy would venture to guess that the Reds did not have one at this time (please correct me if I am mistaken).  So, like other Dominican baseball players, Cueto learned the ropes of the big leagues, and the "American Culture," from fellow Dominican Edinson Volquez who had already been through the same process.

Dominican beisbol player Johnny Cueto is from the famed San Pedro de Macoris, Republica Dominicana.
File:Johnny Cueto 2.jpg
Dominican baseball player Johnny Cueto will open the season as the Reds' ace,
photo by Wknight94

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Dominican baseball players in Opening Day game, Peloteros Dominicanos juegan en el primer dia de la temporada MLB

It is finally opening day and the Reds and Marlins have just kicked off the first day of the MLB season, well not counting that opening game or two played in Japan.

So...you ask...how many Dominican baseball players will be playing in this Opening Day game?

Well the Cardinals start Rafael Furcal, and...crickets.  That is the only Dominican player the Cardinals have on the roster.  That has to be some kind of record, only one Dominican baseball player on the entire roster.  But it is so.  Furcal is from Loma de Cabrera, Dominican Republic.

The Marlins on the other hand, have a few Dominican players on their roster.  They have Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, and Emilio Bonificio all starting.  And that is it.  Reyes is from Villa Gonzalez, Ramirez is from Samana, and Bonificio is from the Dominican capital, Santo Domingo.

This is a pretty small number of Dominican baseball players represented on these two teams.  It is just below the ten percent mark of last season for Dominican players on MLB rosters to start the year.  We should see the total number of Dominican baseball players on opening day rosters for this season in the next couple days.
Hanley Ramirez is one of several Dominican baseball players to start on opening day,
photo by afagen on Flickr

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Dominican food: Dominican baseball players offer their Dominican food recipes, Comida Dominicana!

Outside Miami and New York, it is pretty hard to find Dominican food and restaurants here in the States.  Most Americans could not even name what items are typical of Dominican food and cuisine.  The Dominican Baseball Guy recently wrote about cultural differences and adjustments that Dominican baseball players face when they come to the United States.

Along with differences in racial classifications mentioned in the previous blog post, the food is a big change for Dominican baseball players arriving in the States.  A common anecdote heard from Dominican players is that they just order chicken for months, until they learn more about the cuisine and learn the language.  Chicken is easy to order, one of the first "food words" that people learning a new language learn, and you can bet that most places serve some sort of chicken dish.  Also, it is the most common meat in the Dominican Republic, so most Dominican players probably prefer it anyway.

But for Dominican baseball players coming to the States, they want a taste of home.  Those that are not in New York or Miami, the only place to get traditional Dominican food is strait from the source, ie from Dominicans cooking in their own homes.  Vladimir Guerrero's mother is known to make some great Dominican food and share with his Dominican teammates.

And even some MLB Dominican baseball players themselves like to cook up their own Dominican food.  A recent cookbook showcases recipes from 20 MLB players, including several Dominican baseball players and their recipes for their favorite Dominican foods.  Albert Pujols, Hanley Ramirez, and Alex Rodriguez are Dominican players that offer recipes.  Perhaps the most prototypical Dominican food dish, beans and rice OR arroz y habichuelas, is one of the Dominican meals found in the baseball cookbook.

All this talk of food makes the Dominican Baseball Guy miss arroz, habichuelas, and chicken.  Other common Dominican foods are yucca, cabbage, mofongo, and several varieties of plaintains.
Typical plate of Dominican food: rice, beans, chicken, and maybe a salad and noodles if you are lucky,
photo by Puroticorico on Flickr
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