Join the conversation:

Baseball fuels dreams, desperation in Dominican Republic

Baseball fuels dreams, desperation in Dominican Republic

Posted by Administrator on July 18, 2013

Hitting home runs is what has made Jose Bautista the Toronto Blue Jays’ biggest star. But a world away in the Dominican Republic where Bautista is from, for thousands of kids “becoming Jose” is a matter of life and death.

“We have to work a lot, we have to suffer hunger, it's a big effort because here it is tough to become someone," one 15-year old ballplayer says.

At one of the biggest prospect showcases before the opening of the July 2 international player signing period, dozens of 15- and 16-year-old kids sit in the tunnel waiting to take the field. The pressure on them is enormous. If you impress here, a major league team will likely offer you a contract and change your life forever.

'They are playing for their lives. In the Dominican Republic, for a lot of these kids it is baseball or nothing. It is as simple as that.'—Homero Lahara, trainer

“They are playing for their lives. In the Dominican Republic, for a lot of these kids it is baseball or nothing. It is as simple as that,” long-time trainer Homero Lahara explains.

Lahara talks about a player who isn’t here today. A boy, who on the morning before his own tryout, collapsed on a baseball diamond and died.

“To try to make these kids superman at a very young age they start fooling around with mother nature. And it backfires like with this young man.”

Juan Manuel's desperate dream

The story of Juan Manuel Matos is the counterpoint to the fairytale. The whispers here are that the 15-year old died after being injected with steroids – the fourth such case in the past 14 months in the Nizao area, an hour outside the capital.

 

Credit By: Associated Press Testing Inc.

Facebook comments



Monthly newsletter featuring articles hand picked by our country managers from the best content across PanamericanWorld.



Monthly newsletter featuring articles hand picked by our country managers from the best content across the Caribbean Region on PanamericanWorld.

PANAMERICANWORLD COUNTRIES