Baseball in Dominican Republic – Day 3

Filed under: Sports |


I know everyone has waited with baited breath for today’s update from Boca Chica – but we did not have internet access at the game this afternoon so tonight at the hotel is the first chance I have had to get on the computer. If I were to say that I’ve missed being over-connected to the world with internet and phone, I would be a liar. Do I miss talking with my wife? Absolutely. Do I miss my phone beeping every other minute with a new message or text or email? No. Do I realize there is a use and a place and a purpose for technology? Sure. Are we overdependent on it? I’ll let you answer that for you own life. I did just have a conversation, though, with one of our players as I found him in the lobby of the hotel, secluded from his teammates, secluded from nature, secluded into his own thoughts and wants and needs and we discussed his need to stay “updated” with the people in his life and to “check in” constantly and to always have the latest information regarding culture and fads. Dr. Tim Elmore discusses this need for today’s generation in some of his research and he says that kids born in the late 80’s and the 90’s are over-connected yet secluded by and with technology. I realize that an athletic website for a university is probably not the place to discuss the merits or arguments against his research but I think it is a great question for today’s American baseball players in light of our mission trip. Why are there, per capita, more players in Major League Baseball from the Dominican Republic than any other country in the world? I think we’ve seen several answers to that question this week. But I digress…

Last night’s church service was an awesome display of passion for God’s grace. The church met in a small building around the corner from our hotel. One of the men who has acted as a guide for our trip is one of the pastors there and was kind enough to save a section of the pews for us to sit together. With us in attendance, there was an overflow crowd for this small church and several of the members sat in the alley next to the church where they could hear through the open windows. Willie, our guide, played piano during the service and spoke during the testimonial portion. Willie is a large young man and with a booming voice, he addressed the congregation and spoke of us and our trip to his country. Luckily, Dr. Bob Garrett was sitting behind me in the church and translated as Willie spoke of our team and our purpose being more than baseball. Through a chorus of Amen and Gloria a Dios, Willie thundered away at the congregation for several minutes and closed his testimony by addressing our players with this thought, “I may never see you again, but I will see you one day in heaven.”

The preaching pastor for this Sunday spoke from the book of Matthew when Jesus asked his disciples the most important question ever spoken, “But what about you? Who do you say I am?” He reminded us that each of us must answer that question for our self. He went through the answers of the people of that day. They say you are a man, John the Baptist. They say you are a prophet, Elijah. The pastor reminded us that those two answers are correct. Jesus died like a man. Jesus was prophetic. And we cannot separate those from Jesus the Christ. But we must also answer and believe that He is the Son of God, risen from the grave. Our Savior. Our Helper. Amen. Gloria a Dios.

This morning was another early morning as we left the hotel at 7:00 am to serve in a rural area about thirty minutes from our hotel where the main source of income is the sugarcane fields. We went to paint a school and hold a baseball clinic and had those two destinations not been at the end of a dirt road, it would have only taken us fifteen minutes to get there. The rains and erosion made for slow travel as our buses had to avoid runoffs and large puddles to get to the school. Once we made it there, the players working the baseball clinic had another twenty minute walk because the roads were impassable by bus.

As has been the case everywhere we have gone in country, we were met with smiles and generosity at the school and at the baseball field. The paint crew of 16 players spent nearly three hours on the exterior of the school. When we left, there was only one little area near the top of the front wall that had not been finished. The baseball clinic, led by the rest of the team, lasted around two hours with the twenty minute walk making up the rest of the time to and from the paint crew.

We returned to the hotel for a quick lunch and prepared for the afternoon game against a team sponsored by the Dominican Republic Police. The field we played at is across the street from the hotel and what it lacks in amenities was more than made up for in pomp and circumstance. A play-by-play announcer worked the loud speakers in Spanish, updating everyone within four city blocks (it seemed) about the results of each pitch of our game. It took a little while to get used to announcing during the pitch but it seemed everyone was comfortable with it by the second inning. We scored four runs in the first and held on to win the nine inning game. Jordan Staples started on the mound for us and Boomer Collins reached base in all five of his plate appearances and Ronnie Mitchell and Patrick Hicks collected a couple hits apiece.

This evening, and the reason this is getting posted so late, we met as a team and guys shared their thoughts on the trip thus far. The main theme that came out of our meeting is a reminder to not let pride get in the way of our mission and our interactions with the people of the Dominican Republic. We get caught up thinking we are so blessed to be from America and that we have so much to offer the people in this nation. It ties in to what I wrote at the top of this post (which I actually wrote before our meeting). We have so much in America. We have technology. We have sports. We have money. Is that a blessing? Or do those things draw us away from communion with a holy God? It is hard to enjoy missional living, it is hard to enjoy a constant relationship with our Father when our only thought is the next email, the next meeting, the next Facebook post. Communion with God through His Son Jesus Christ? We can learn a lot from the people of the Dominican Republic.

from the DBU Patriot Athletics Website