Far away from U.S. Major League Baseball’s mighty salaries and Hollywood glitz, thousands of minor leaguers – over 50 per cent of Latino origin – survive on baseball earnings below the federal poverty line and face a broad assault on their rights. They are forced to fend for themselves: “The starting salary for a first-year professional player, paid only during the regular season, is US$1,100”; a 60-hour work week is routine.
Tag Archives: Dominican Republic
The Toronto sports media is forever promoting the “Dominican connection” of the Blue Jays baseball franchise. Teen shortstop Yewri Guillén died the day the Nationals were supposed to ship him to America. Has MLB learned from the tragedy?
THE BASEBALL MEN started coming around when Yewri Guillén was 15. Like thousands of other boys in the Dominican Republic, he had been waiting for them for years, training on the sparse patch of grass and dirt across the road from the small concrete-and-wood house he shared with his mother, father, and two sisters in La Canela, a hamlet 45 minutes southwest of Santo Domingo. By the time the American scouts took notice, he had grown into a 5-foot-10, 165-pound, switch-hitting shortstop with quick hands and a laser arm. In 2009, at the age of 16, he signed for $30,000 with the Washington Nationals. The first thing he’d do with his bonus, he told his parents, was buy them a car and build them a new house.
But after sitting down I noticed that I was in a mostly pro-Cuban section. While there were probably more overall Dominican fans – from a couple conversations I got the feeling most “normal” US fans instinctively were pro-MLB, thereby pro-Dominican – the Cuban supporters were strong all over – and not shy either. Continue reading