Baseball in Dominican Republic – Day 2 (so far)

Filed under: Sports,DBU |

1:58pm

You know how every now and again you come to that spot in life where you realize you need to renew your battle against pride and selfishness? I think that happened for a lot of us today.

For me, it was on the road to San Pedro. We met for breakfast at 6:40 and enjoyed French toast and fruit and loaded the small buses for a forty minute drive to the Nuestros Hermanos Pequenos orphanage and school, just outside San Pedro. We were packed into the buses tight, yet the drive was mostly silent. I don’t know if it was the second consecutive early morning, the beauty of the ocean drive to San Pedro, or the fact that several guys had their cameras out taking pictures – but for me, the silence was a time for contemplation. We came to the Dominican to serve a God who loves us, who provides for us, and who protects us. We came to share that love with the people, young and old alike, we encounter on our trip. While I was thinking about that and the chance we were about to have to meet the children at the orphanage, our bus driver flipped the radio from tejano-type music to a softer genre. It took me a while but before long, I was picking up words in the songs. Santo. Cristo. Allelu. He had turned it to a Christian music station. And it hit me – our God is big. The same God I worship, the same God our team worships, the same God the Apostle Paul and Abraham and Moses worshiped is the same God the people of the Dominican Republic worship. He is not limited to the United States of America.

We get caught up in God Bless the USA and worshipping his provision, that sometimes we forget he is the God of the universe. We look around the Dominican and we may see poverty. I don’t think the people of Latin America see it with the same eyes. Their joy, their light, their contentment – it’s available in the same place ours is – Jesus Christ.

To make that even more real, after a couple praise songs on the radio, a man came on and started talking.  I thought he was reading from the Bible so I asked one of our translators what passage he was reading. The translator listened for a little bit and then looked at me and said, “He is not reading from the Bible, it is a sermon. He is saying that our God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He never changes. People change but God stays the same.”

We were expecting to pull into an orphanage that looked much like the one we visited in 2007 when we traveled to Guatemala – small, lots of concrete and cinder blocks, barbed wire. What we found was 40 acres of grass, small gardens, a soccer field, and a baseball field. The players split into groups and ran a small baseball camp with the kids. There were six different stations set up, each with a different skill to practice. Our players did a great job of filling each group with joy, smiles, and bad Spanish. The morning was capped off with three different Wiffle Ball games and a group picture before we said goodbye to our new friends. We left them with several bags of baseball equipment and headed for the field to play an afternoon game against Los Estrellas Orientales.

3:24pm

We are currently in the bottom of the fourth inning in San Pedro against Los Estrellas Orientales. We are down a couple runs but as we do some research on the internet in the press box, we are finding  that we are playing against mostly professional baseball players – some of them playing as high as Double A this past season. Blake Webster just completed a shutdown inning after we scored three in the previous inning. The ballpark is beautiful and there are probably about 500 enthusiastic fans in the stands. There are vendors hawking popcorn out of large trash cans, fans blowing horns, kids chasing foul balls. Probably the neatest thing is that about five minutes ago, the kids from the orphanage showed up to watch us play.

Boomer Collins just picked up his second hit of the afternoon – a double to right center. Ronnie Mitchell also has two hits so far. We’re down 9-4 but have scored the last four runs of the game.

3:48pm

The current pitcher for Los Estrellas is pitching in the upper 90’s. Ryan Behmanesh just struck out on a 96 mph fastball. Every pitcher so far for Los Estrellas has been in the 90’s… Jay Harley just completed some research and almost every player on Los Estrellas has some minor league experience, including Double A and Triple A All-Stars.

4:36pm

We’re heading to the bottom of the 8th and the Patriots are down, 10-5. Cy Sneed is replaced by Tyler Rockafellow after throwing 1.1 innings, giving up no runs, and striking out all four outs he recorded. Rockafellow recorded two quick outs to start the inning and just gave up a bloop single.

4:43pm

Rockafellow gave up another hard-luck single after completely sawing-off a Los Estrellas batter, breaking his bat, only to see the ball trickle through the five hole… A groundball to Kenny Hatcher gets him out of the inning. Hatcher has made several great defensive plays today. On to the ninth!

4:55pm

Los Estrellas hold on to win, 10-5. Collins, Ronnie Mitchell, and Landon Anderson all collect two hits on the day.

We will pack up, load up, and head back to the hotel to shower and change before heading down the street to a church service. Coincidentally, the umpire behind the plate this afternoon is a pastor at the church. Not sure if Willie will be preaching tonight or not but hopefully we will see him there. If we have internet access tomorrow during the day, I will try to post some updates from Day 3. If we don’t, I will try to leave some notes after we return to the hotel for the day.

from the DBU Patriot Athletics Website