More players are recruited from the Dominican Republic to play American Major League Baseball than any other country outside of the U.S.
“Baseball has come to represent for many young Dominicans what basketball can for boys in American inner cities… a fantasy of fame and fortune, a means to an honest escape,” says an article and photo essay in Triple Canopy magazine.
Shadowing commission-driven scouts (or “buscón”), the investigative piece reveals the conflicting angles of American baseball’s impact on the lives of Dominican boys.
American MLB clubs have spent millions of dollars funding state-of-the-art complexes to attract and develop talent in poor cities. And DR scouts continue to earn millions from major league contracts, despite criticism from American media, who claim they exploit boys.
While the hope of living major league dreams is something to strive for, it supersedes education. A slim number of players are drafted, leaving the rest with no money or jobs after years of greuling training, say critics.
However, supporters of American baseball recruiting in the DR say the buscón act as mentors who instill the value of pursuing a dream, no matter how far fetched it may seem.
(Photos courtesy of Newsday.com)