For many, baseball is part of the DNA of the Dominican Republic. In fact, along with merengue, both cultural elements are part of his passion and identity. Therefore, this exciting sport is one of the jewels in the crown of the island, so it does not go unnoticed in the eyes of any visitor to the island.
In addition, as a traveler, it will be almost impossible not to catch the passion that its inhabitants feel for this sport, considered the “King Sport” of the nation. Likewise, you will notice that most play or enjoy it in the main sports facilities for this purpose.
Did you know that the Dominican Republic national baseball team program is currently ranked sixth in the WBSC Baseball World Rankings?
Having said that, let’s now look at some important information that will help you to be better informed about the life of this sport in this magical Caribbean country, and why it is worth taking a little time to attend one of the matches.
How and when did baseball arrive in the Dominican Republic?
Baseball came to the Dominican Republic in the 19th century in the 1870s, when Cubans fled their island due to the 10-year war of independence with the Spanish Empire.
There is also another theory that ensures that baseball was introduced during the invasions of the United States Navy in 1916, and that the first professional teams were created in 1890.
What is written, however, is that the United States introduced the game of baseball to Cuba in the mid-1860s. Therefore, it was Cuban migrants who spread the game throughout the Caribbean, including the Dominican Republic.
After its introduction around this time, the sport’s popularity spread rapidly, and by 1920, 30 teams from the Dominican Republic were playing in other Caribbean countries, as well as teams from North America.
It is believed that the first baseball game in the country was played in 1891 at Independencia Park in Santo Domingo. Later, in 1948, the Dominican Republic won that year’s Amateur World Series. He finished second in 1942, 1950, and 1952. He finished third in 1943 and 1969.
It didn’t win a World Championship title until the 2013 World Baseball Classic. In essence, for more than a century, baseball has been a very important part of the Dominican Republic’s national pride.
In addition, it has been the birthplace of many high-level professional players, as many players have been sent to the Major League Baseball in the United States, also winning several gold medals in the Olympic Games and other international competitions.
Today, baseball remains one of the most popular sports in the Dominican Republic and is enjoyed by people of all ages. Baseball games are played regularly in fields and parks around the country and there are several professional baseball leagues in the country, including the Dominican Republic Professional Baseball League.
When to attend one of the matches of the Dominican Republic Professional Baseball League?
One of the best ways to immerse yourself in Dominican sports life is, without a doubt, attending a league match. Professional baseball games are played from October to January , with the regular series in December and the playoffs or “round-robin” in January.
These dates are also the most ideal to get to know the region, so you can easily add your experience on the baseball field to your travel itinerary.
It is also important to know that the end of these qualifiers marks the beginning of the Caribbean Series, an international competition in which teams from Mexico, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic compete.
Visit the stadiums on the island
You can also visit the emblematic stadiums associated with this sport such as the Juan Marichal Stadium in Santo Domingo, the stadium where the Tigres del Liceo and Los Leones del Escogido play; the Cibao Stadium in Santiago where Las Águilas Cibaeñas play; or the Tetelo Vargas Stadium in San Pedro de Macorís, which is the home stadium of the Las Estrellas Orientales team.
Baseball in the Dominican Republic is not like any other sport. And it is that this sport is almost a way of life for Dominicans, with a long history that has grown in recent years. Dominicans also call it “la pelota” and almost everyone plays it, either professionally or as a simple amateur.
So, if you are on the island and there are baseball seasons, then you cannot pass up the opportunity to share your passion by attending one of the big games. You will live an amazing experience!