Dominican Professional Baseball League
The Dominican Republic Professional Baseball League (Spanish: Liga de Béisbol Profesional de la República Dominicana) or LIDOM by its acronym in Spanish, is a winter professional baseball league consisting of six teams spread across the Dominican Republic; it is the highest level of professional baseball league in the Dominican Republic. The league's players include many prospects that go on to play in Major League Baseball in the United States while also signing many current MLB veterans. The champion of LIDOM advances to play in the yearly Caribbean Series.
|No. of teams||6|
|Most titles||Tigres del Licey (22 title)|
Each team plays a fifty-game round-robin schedule that begins at the middle of October and runs to the end of December. The top four teams engage in another round-robin schedule with 18 games per team from the end of December to the end of January; the top two teams in those standings then play a best-of-nine series for the national title. The league's champion advances to the Caribbean Series to play against the representatives from Mexico, Venezuela, Cuba and Puerto Rico.
|Águilas Cibaeñas||Santiago||Estadio Cibao||18,077|
|Estrellas Orientales||San Pedro de Macorís||Estadio Tetelo Vargas||8,000|
|Gigantes del Cibao||San Francisco de Macorís||Estadio Julián Javier||12,000|
|Leones del Escogido||Santo Domingo||Estadio Quisqueya||14,469|
|Tigres del Licey||Santo Domingo||Estadio Quisqueya||14,469|
|Toros del Este||La Romana||Estadio Francisco Micheli||10,000|
- Caimanes del Sur (San Cristóbal) 1983-1989
- Delfines del Atlántico (Puerto Plata) (This team did not play and was never officially in the league)
- Pollos del Cibao / Pollos Nacionales / Pollos Béisbol Club (San Francisco de Macorís) from 1999-2002, previously Gigantes del Nordeste, currently Gigantes del Cibao
For his close involvement in the Dominican league's establishment and early development, Pedro Miguel Caratini (born ca. 1880) has been called "the father of Dominican baseball".
During the years 1930-1963, military dictator General Rafael Trujillo can be credited with furthering the sport of baseball in Dominican Republic. Trujillo encouraged many sugar refineries to create teams of cane cutting laborers to play baseball during the idle months of cultivation. Fostering high levels of competition, the organization structure continued to mature stimulating growth in the intensity and popularity of the game.
In 1937, teams of the Dominican Republic signed a large number of players from the Negro League of the United States. These players were given large salaries by Dominican men with money and political power. Among these players were baseball stars James Thomas "Cool Papa" Bell and Satchel Paige. However, these contracts exhausted team finances leading to a decline of Dominican baseball until 1950.
Brought to the country by fleeing Cubans that were escaping the Ten Years' War that started on 1868 and ended on 1878, thus giving it the name ten years' war. The game of few, was slow to gain popularity, but when it started getting played by locals the game had a leap in popularity. And this same popularity led to the creation of LIDOM. The league that helped Latino players avoid the ethnocentrism and exclusion of the major leagues of the United States, and developed their own teams, sort of like African Americans with the Negro American League. They were their own Major League, young kids and adults lined up to see their people play, to see fellow Dominicans just like them take the mound and swing the bat. It gave a poor country a sense of pride, a sense of belonging. Even today many people depend feel tightly connected to the sport. In 2017, from the start of the season in mid October until its end in December, it feels like the 2000 World Series in New York City. its like if every person in the country is constantly thinking, talking, or watching something about the sport 24/7.
As a cultural icon of the Dominican Republic, baseball holds a strong presence in the country. Surrounded by impoverished neighborhoods, these baseball stadiums of the larger Dominican cities are routinely maintained. Owners of big businesses like sugar refineries funded the construction of these fields, and benefit from the games. Games in these stadiums attract major crowds and a sense of community can be observed. Like their American counterparts, these "latinized" games exude free-spiritedness, social cohesion, and festivity from the fans and players alike. In the Dominican Republic, baseball players are regaled as sports heroes and function as role models to their fan base. This idolization is covered by the media more so than in the United States.
The Dominican Republic is a developing country, struggling with poverty. In a 2016 CIA estimate, it was shown that 30.5 percent of Dominicans live below the poverty line. In addition, the CIA estimated in 2016 that unemployment of the Dominican Republic was 5.5 percent. With poverty costing many Dominicans a chance to get a higher education, many look up to the great success of those who make it to the MLB, KBO, and NPB. Causing many young Dominicans to see the sport of Baseball as a way to leave the poverty behind, and find a new meaning. Because of this, children begin playing organized baseball as early as six years old, and compete with others in leagues with the hopes of being recognized by baseball scouts.
Some argue that the perception of baseball as economic salvation is in reality detrimental to the youth of the Dominican Republic. For each time a Dominican succeeds, it intensifies the efforts of thousands of other Dominicans, motivating them to give up on education, concentrate solely on training for baseball, and ultimately fail at being signed overseas.
American hegemony inside Dominican baseball
After Fidel Castro's revolution in Cuba and the subsequent U.S. blockade, scouts of the majors turned their sights towards the Dominican Republic. Posed with the opportunity to acquire quality talent at a reasonable price, major league teams established "working relationships" with Dominican professional teams. Since the 1950s, all 30 MLB franchises have established baseball training academies in the Dominican Republic that are tasked by their respective teams to condition and prepare young Dominican prospects for a chance at further developing in the United States. Having produced many successful athletes from these academies, these academies undercut the reliance of U.S. teams on Dominican baseball organizations.
|1922||Leones del Escogido||Luis Alfau||Tigres del Licey|
|1924||Tigres del Licey||Charles A. Dore||Leones del Escogido|
|1929||Tigres del Licey||Charles A. Dore||Leones del Escogido|
|1936||Estrellas Orientales||Enrique Mejía||Tigres del Licey|
|1937||Dragones de Ciudad Trujillo||Lázaro Salazar||Aguilas Cibaeñas|
|Won Caribbean Series|
*Two Dominican teams participated in the Serie del Caribe in 2008
|Tigres del Licey||22 (2)*|
|Leones del Escogido||16 (1)*|
|Estrellas Orientales||3 (1)*|
|Toros del Este||2|
|Gigantes del Cibao||1|
|Caimanes del Sur||0|
|Dragones de Ciudad Trujillo||0 (1)*|
*Championships won before LIDOM (1951)
- HISTORIA DE LA SERIE DEL CARIBE Archived February 5, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Accessed on 2011-01-12.
- Van Hyning, Thomas E.; Valero, Eduardo (1995). Puerto Rico's Winter League: A History of Major League Baseball's Launching Pad. McFarland. p. 1.
- Klein, Alan. "Baseball as Underdevelopment: The Political-Economy of Sport in the Dominican Republic". Northwestern University, 1989
- Gordon, Dan. "Winter League Escapades: Dispatches from Ballparks in the Dominican Republic". University of Nebraska Press, 2001
- Klein, Alan. "American Hegemony, Dominican Resistance, and Baseball". Dialectical Anthropology, 1988
- Jessop, Alicia (March 19, 2013). "The Secrets Behind The Dominican Republic's Success In The World Baseball Classic And Major League Baseball". Forbes. Retrieved January 3, 2014.
- Klein, Alan. "Culture, Politics, and Baseball in the Dominican Republic". Latin American Perspectives, 1995