Dominican Baseball: Anytime, Anywhere

In the Dominican Republic, baseball is much more than just a game. This photo gallery compliments Robert Stephens article Going Deep, which first appeared in the_ March 2012_ issue of ISLANDS Magazine.

Dominican Republic Northern Shore
The least travelled beaches in the Dominican Republic are on the island's north shore, an hour east of Caberete. Here, on Playa Preciosa near the town of Cabrera, we jumped off a 10-foot ledge onto the empty sand, sending little crabs into hiding. See the full article Going Deep: Baseball in the Dominican Republic »Jon Whittle
Playing baseball with a palm branch
Baseball is everywhere on the island. While eating on Playa Caletone we noticed this boy playing baseball with a friend in the sand parking lot. They were using a palm branch as a bat and almond pods as balls. Two of us travelers took some swings, and whiffed. See the full article Going Deep: Baseball in the Dominican Republic »Jon Whittle
Dominican Baseball Player
Most Dominicans play baseball whenever and wherever they can. See the full article Going Deep: Baseball in the Dominican Republic »Jon Whittle
Alex Lopez and Friend
Alex Lopez (aka “Piyoyo”), 17, uses creative techniques to improve his swing, like hitting corn kernels with a broomstick at night. His mother, a former softball player, taught Piyoyo how to hit. He dreams of playing professionally, but says even if he doesn’t make it he’ll never stop playing because the game “is here,” as he points to his heart. See the full article Going Deep: Baseball in the Dominican Republic »Jon Whittle
Family Pride
Just as big-league superstars make pride swell in fellow Dominicans, a kid like Piyoyo brings pride to family and friends in the barrio. See the full article Going Deep: Baseball in the Dominican Republic »Jon Whittle
Dominican Teenagers Practice Baseball
Teenagers practice baseball up to eight hours a day. By the age of 18, they are considered “old” as a pro prospect. See the full article Going Deep: Baseball in the Dominican Republic »Jon Whittle
Golden Dolphin Resort Baseball Field
The game is more entertaining than it is serious on the baseball field outside the Golden Dolphin Villa. Players from the village of Cabrera play for, or with, guests of the 17,000-square foot villa. The Golden Dolphin's ballfield was built in the year 2000 to bring the island's most important cultural element to guests. The field is tucked within a 100-acre fruit orchard. See the full article Going Deep: Baseball in the Dominican Republic »Jon Whittle
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic’s land needs no help from irrigation or chemicals to be fertile. We found healthy cacao pods growing in the middle of nowhere. Gardeners at the villa take guests through the surrounding fields to pick bananas, mangoes, sugarcane, limes, star fruit, mint, papayas, and whatever else happens to be in season. See the full article Going Deep: Baseball in the Dominican Republic »Jon Whittle
Carving a Baseball Bat
Dominicans use the most plentiful resources to satiate their hunger for baseball. Here, a tree branch from the jungle is being shaved into a baseball bat. See the full article Going Deep: Baseball in the Dominican Republic »Jon Whittle
Dominican Baseball Talent
Why are Dominicans so good at baseball? The best case for the prolific Dominican baseball talent (there were 139 Dominican players in Major League Baseball in 2011) is the simplest one: “they play ... all ... day ... long,” says a college player from the states who trained for one year near Santiago. “It’s unreal. They don’t stop.” See the full article Going Deep: Baseball in the Dominican Republic »Jon Whittle
Dominican Winter League Season
Players who have made it to Major League organizations often return to the island to play in the Winter League season. The stadiums (like this one in Santiago) are much smaller than Major League ballparks, but the vibrancy of the scene is uniquely Dominican. See the full article Going Deep: Baseball in the Dominican Republic »Jon Whittle
Dominican Baseball Stadium
Making noise at the stadium: it’s a release of pride and passion for the game — and the island — they love. See the full article Going Deep: Baseball in the Dominican Republic »Jon Whittle
Dominican Republic Beach
See the full article Going Deep: Baseball in the Dominican Republic »Jon Whittle