Nunca iniciar un juego en el tiempo


After four games in the DR, the Licey Tigers are 3-1. We have had solid pitching and hitting so far. Of the four games we have played, guess how many started on time? NONE! And I’m not saying late by five or ten minutes. We did have two opening days so I’ll give that the benefit of the doubt, but yesterday we had a delay for four helicopters to land on the field which had our cheerleaders and mascot in them. I just feel for the starting pitcher, because they really never know when the game is going to start.

The fields here are pretty nice. The grandstands in most of the stadiums are large and can hold anywhere from 10,000-18,000 people. The fans here love and respect the game so much. They go ecstatic throughout the game waving flags and blowing horns and vuvuzelas nonstop. If we hit a home-run or a player moves a guy over with less than two outs we hear the same loud ovation. The fans have a cheer “Licey Campeon” which I have found myself singing to it in the bullpen because it is catchy. 

We have cheerleaders who were imported from Columbia to entertain the fans and players in the dugout in between innings. These are the cheerleaders for Casper Wells’ team Escogido. No offense to my Florida Marlins, but these beat the Manatee dancers. 

dominican-baseball-cheerleaders-3.jpg

Tonight we are home against the Gigantes of Cibao. Robert Collelo (Red Sox) is on the bump. We then have three straight games on the road. BTW, we do not celebrate Halloween down here.

Feel free to comment or ask questions. I post many videos and pictures throughout the week on my twitter. Click here to follow me.

4 Comments

I guess I have more of a question than a comment but: What is the purpose of playing “winterball”? Meaning is it to stay in shape in the off season or to improve skills or to get noticed for a job here in 2011 or is it just for fun? I guess I just never knew why you guys don’t take a break LOL. Does every player play winterball or is it more optional? Is it set up by the club you are with in the US or are you responsible for finding a place to play on your own. I have tried to read about it online but haven’t found a firm answer so I thought I would see if you could answer!!

thanks for the question. There are many reasons guys play winterball. First and foremost for most US players, its for the money. Its unfortunate to say that, but realistically a player can make 2-4 times what they make in a month at AA or AAA. Its hard nowadays to find a job in the off-season back home for the short time while we are there. Next it sets guys up for next season. Many guys along with myself are free agents. If we can show a team early before the signing period we can play, it will help us get a shot with a team. Jamie Moyer will be pitching down here for Escogido trying to get a job as well. Finally, guys come down here to play to get extra at-bats or innings if they were hurt or injured during the regular season.

In my two years in winterball, I have had an amazing time and it is a lot of fun. The baseball is very serious and very business like. If you don’t produce they will get rid of you quickly.

Every player has the option to play. A list goes around each clubhouse in August asking if a job would come available would you be interested. Most young players want and do need the rest and the club has to look out for its prospects.

The club has to contact MLB and approve that the player can play winterball. Some clubs help players get jobs, but in the end all its the agent that negotiates the contract and incentives. Hope I hit on all the aspects. Let me know if theres anything else.

Loving the Twitter posts and new blogs. You’ve provided a great insight into Winter Ball in the DR. I do have some questions.
1) Regarding the cheerleaders, do they interact with you guys? I mean, do they talk baseball with you or do they just kind of stay together in their own little group?
2) To get transported to the game, do you rent a car or take a team bus?
3)What was the deal with the guy drinking coffee instead of warming up on deck? I read that I one of your tweets, and I thought you were kidding. Is that for real? Do they not take the on-deck circle seriously?
Thanks for any answers you can provide. Sorry if I’ve somewhat bombarded you with questions. Keep on having fun!

The cheerleaders do not interact with the players. They come out every 2-3 innings and do a little dance to entertain the crowd. Some teams have better dancers, and some have better looking cheerleaders who can’t dance.
The US staff and players get picked up daily from the hotel and get transported to and from the field. Even if we could rent a car here, it would be very scary driving around. Not many drivers abide by any rules here and make their own lanes. Surprisingly we have not seen any accidents.
He was drinking coffee, but I guess that was a pre at-bat ritual or something. There is coffee in the dugouts and the bullpens. It is actually pretty good too. The game is taken very serious down here, especially the pitching matchups. You can tell by looking at the boxscores through mlb.com. We use on average 7-8 pitchers a game, which makes the games about 4 hours long too.

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