The office of the commissioner of the Major League Baseball (MLB) contributed $ 300 thousand dollars to a program created by the Dominican authorities to go to the rescue of ballparks in small communities in the Caribbean nation.
The project was created by the Office of the National Baseball Commissioner of the Dominican Republic, led by former baseball player Junior Noboa, and has the support of the nation’s sports ministry.
During an activity in Santo Domingo, in which Jorge Pérez-Díaz, MLB vice president of international affairs; Yerik Pérez, Director of Operations for the MLB office in the Dominican Republic; Francisco Camacho, Dominican sports minister, and Noboa, explained that the plan is to build or renovate 30 baseball stadiums in the same number of provinces in the country, during the next six months.
“We are very grateful to MLB for supporting this idea, with money and advice. This is a gift that will directly impact many young people in the country,” Noboa told ESPN Digital. “We are talking about playing fields that do not have a fence in the outfield or behind the plate,” he added.
“When I mentioned Noboa’s idea to Commissioner Rob Manfred, he immediately said yes, with great enthusiasm, and told me to let the Dominican authorities know that he was very excited about the project,” Pérez-Díaz said.
“That is the line that our great manager, President Luis Abinader, has drawn for us. We know that this support is going to grow. All Dominicans, especially the children and young people of those impacted communities, are very grateful for this support from MLB. “Camacho said.
The Dominican Republic, a small territory of 48 thousand square kilometers, is the foreign country that contributes the most players to organized baseball in the United States. Consistently, over the last few decades, a good portion of the industry’s top stars have been Quisqueyanos.
The MLB reported in April that 256 players born outside the United States (equivalent to 28.3%) made the rosters of all 30 teams on the opening day of the 2021 season. A vast majority of the foreigners, exactly 228, were Latin American.
As it has done every year since MLB began publishing this annual data in 1995, the Dominican Republic led the countries and territories with representation in the major leagues, now with 98 players. Venezuela (64), Cuba (19), Puerto Rico (18), Mexico (11) and Canada (10) were the others with double figures of representatives.
According to an MLB study, the league impacted the Caribbean nation’s economy by around $ 370 million dollars in 2019. The report included the operations of the 30 major league academies, the bonuses that local prospects received. to move on to professionalism and the three-month season of a rookie league that MLB has in the country, among others.
“The Dominican Republic is very important to MLB and having the opportunity to positively impact the communities that need it most is something that Commissioner Manfred did not want to overlook,” said Yerik Pérez.