Even though baseball is considered "America's pastime", it has become the Dominican Republic's pastime as well. Most American fans know that Major League Baseball recruits players outside of the US, but I'm not sure most Americans know that the Dominican Republic sends the most players to play in the MLB of any other country. While students have been talking to their host families, it seems almost everybody knows somebody who was a pelotero and made it big. Here in the DR there are training camps and clubs for young men to get started and hopefully get noticed by one of the American teams. Today we had the chance to play some baseball with some young players who might someday make it to the Major Leagues.
We were split into two teams, Americans vs. Dominicans, although Collin played on the Dominican team. Our group was pretty intimidated by the kids after watching them during their practice. They're really good! Even though they were much more comfortable and outgoing on the field, our team gave their best effort and the other team was very patient with us.
The forecast called for rain in the afternoon, and boy did it deliver. Most of the game was played with sprinkles or pouring rain, which was quite a welcome relief from the very hot weather we usually have during the day. The field got slippery and messy, and the players all got soaked.
We didn't play by proper rules, nor did we keep score exactly, but it was so fun to see everyone being so encouraging of one another during the game. Every time someone hit the ball it felt like a huge accomplishment and there was LOTS of yelling. There's nothing better than watching kids being kids and sharing in the joy of a fun sport like béisbol together. We may be from different countries and have very different cultures, but our home countries have a common love for pelota.