From late October to January, when the sugar mills are slow, a baseball season is born. It is the big leagues for Dominican baseball players who dream ofmaking it big. It's where their fantasies can come true. To play well and tobe seen by major league scouts. It is also a time when Dominican baseball players who are current major leaguers can come home and play in their winterball season.
Since the 50's when Ozzie Virgil made the D.R. famous by playing in the major leagues, we have seen more and more players make the transition from local Dominican Republic baseball to the major league and do it well - for example the Alou brothers, and currently, Sammie Sosa. But there are those who could yet turn out to be even bigger? Manny Ramirez or Pedro Martinez, perhaps? Amongst many more.
When the 'Ten Year War' (1868-1878) in Cuba brought turmoil to the country, many Cubans fled their homeland and migrated to the D.R. bringing with them the game called "Baseball". Dominicans were quick to learn the game and soon organized themselves into teams.
Since then "Beisbol", as the Dominicans call it, has become the National sport and the passion of most Dominicans. No matter where you go on the island you will find a baseball stadium/park, even in the poorest of towns. Today more than one in six players in the American baseball league is from Latin America, the majority of them coming from the towns located on the south-eastern coast of the Dominican Republic, such as San Pedro de Macoris.
Each year, from October to January, fans of the professional Dominican Republic Baseball league support their favorite team avidly. Games are held at the Quisqueya Stadium in Santo Domingo and at other major stadiums in Santiago, San Pedro de Macoris, and La Romana. If you are in the D.R. during this time, not only can you enjoy the beautiful beaches, but you just have to take in a 'top quality' ball game! The passion for this sport is like no other for Dominicans all over the country and the fantastic atmosphere in Dominican Republic baseball stadiums has to be 'felt' to be believed.
When the teams finish their season, the winners will vie to become Champions of the Carribean World Series, against other Latin countries. Not only is the Dominican Republic Baseball season incredible because of all the names from the Dominican 'baseball hall of fame' that it features, teams also commonly recruit up-and-coming American ballplayers who are trying to make it to the big leagues. When an US baseball organization has a 'top prospect' and they want him to gain more experience, they will send him to a winterball league to hone his skills.
When you get that chance to watch a Dominican beisbol game you will be able to see incredible baseball with incredible players and incredible fans! So make sure that experiencing the passion and the pride of Dominican baseball is on your list of 'to do's' when visiting the Dominican Republic"
This article was contributed by Bill Bathe, former major league ball player who also played in Venezuela. To learn more about winterball or just baseball, just click pro baseball drills and baseball equipment to take you to his site where you can learn more about baseball, baseball drills, baseball equipment, and inspirational stories on his journey to the big leagues.
Read more about famous baseball players from the Dominican Republic
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