The Caribbean Baseball series started up on Feb 2. The four championship clubs that will be competing are The Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Mexico. The first two games yesterday went to the Dominican Republic (Leones del Escogido) over Mexico (Obregon Yaquis) and Puerto Rico (Indians of Mayagüez) over Venezuela (Aragua Tigers). The games were played in the Capitol of the DR, Santo Domingo at the Quisqueya Stadium.

Today it will be Puerto Rico vs Mexico and the Dominican Republic vs Venezuela.

Baseball is pretty much THE sport of the Dominican Republic (well, if you don’t count dominoes) and its pretty much the dream of every kid to make it to the big leagues (referring to the US leagues). News paper reports of Major League teams signing up 16 year old Domincan kids for millions has a tendency to fuel the fire. With good reason. When the average wage for someone working in the compos is about $10 per day for a 10 hour day, you can see how the whole family can get a bit worked up about one of their kids making it even into the Dominican league.

Another big draw for the Caribbean Series are the Major League players that decide to head back home for the winter and play a bit of ball here. Young players get to play with some of their heroes and the stands are packed. With the return of the “Big League players often comes controversy.

Recent complaints from Major League Team owners have tried to put a bit of a damper on Players returning home for the winter games. Complaints of players getting injured or now starting the season in the Major Leagues properly rested up have turned to ball clubs refusing to allow players to play in the winter league. Over the last few months there have also been problems with player making it back to the US after it has been found out that they falsified entry paper. Top that off with players getting in trouble when they came back to the DR loaded with their US baseball contract cash just seems to add more color to the Caribbean Series!

Whether you are interested in the games or not, baseball has helped to shape the DR into what you see today. Whether you are visiting or living here, you can’t help but be at least somewhat affected. “Sports bars” (pretty much any bar, colmado (family store), or gas station with a TV) are packed with Dominicans yelling for their favorite team during game time and usually for an hour or so after wards. Feb 2 – Feb 7 The Caribbean league in the Dominican Republic!