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Encuentros Cercanos (Close Encounters)

It is not unusual for me to spot individuals of varying degrees of fame in Santo Domingo.  I once ran into former NBA star B.J. Armstrong at a hotel, and met Kelly Perine, an comic actor who has made a career of playing the kooky brother or sidekick on several television shows, at the cigar shop I frequent. Henry...

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Las Grandes Ligas Cuentan Con Los Prospectos Dominicanos (Big Leagues Banking on Dominican Prospects)

Posted by Administrator | Posted in Dominican Republic & The MLB, Dominican Republic Baseball, Dominican Republic Culture, Uncategorized | Posted on 01-09-2011

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The accelerated signings of Dominican baseball prospects, coupled with a record signing bonus by the Texas Rangers, appears to be an indication that Major League Baseball teams have increasing faith that efforts to curb age and identity fraud in the Dominican Republic are working.
The $5 million signing bonus given 16-year-old Nomar Mazara eclipses the $4.25 million awarded Michael Ynoa by the Oakland A’s in 2008, and was one of several $1 million-plus bonuses awarded young Dominican players after the July 2 date when 16-year-olds are eligible to be signed. The Rangers also signed Ronald Guzman, a 16-year-old outfielder, for $3.45 million. Among other notable Dominican signings reported:

  • Elier Hernandez, OF – Kansas City Royals, $3.05 million
  • Helsin Martinez, OF – Seattle Mariners, $2 million
  • Adalberto Mondesi, SS – Kansas City Royals, $2 million
  • Dawel Lugo, SS – Toronto Blue Jays, $1.3 million
  • Enrique Acosta, SS – Chicago Cubs, $1.1 million
  • Dorssys Paulino, SS – Cleveland Indians, $1.1 million
  • Raymel Flores, SS – Boston Red Sox, $900,000
  • Manuel Marcos, OF – Boston Red Sox, $800,000
  • Miguel Andujar, 3B – New York Yankees, $750,000
  • Adelin Santa, 3B – Detroit Tigers, $750,000
  • Luis Reynoso, SS – Houston Astros, $700,000
  • Miguel Gonzalez, RHP – Minnesota Twins, $650,000
  • Dioscar Romero, RHP – Boston Red Sox, $600,000
  • Francisco Miguel, OF – Cleveland Indians, $200,000
Rangers Ronald Guzman was among top Dominican signees

Rangers Ronald Guzman was among top Dominican signees

This does not include agreements reached with players from other countries including Venezuela, Columbia and Panama. International signing bonuses topped $100 million last year and speculation is that when signings are completed this year, they will exceed that total. All signings are subject to the approval of MLB’s Commissioner’s Office.

The signings appear to reflect calmer waters in the Dominican baseball ocean after more than a year of tempests that tossed the sport in the country, threatening to undermine its integrity. Widespread allegations of age and identity fraud made many teams cautious in their pursuit of Dominican prospects.

In the wake of the allegations, as well as reports of steroid use by prospects and money skimming charges, baseball launched a major reform movement, beefing up investigations into the fraud, and instituting several measures to curb it, including the use of fingerprints to positively identify prospects, a process advocated in the INFORMER two years ago.

Jorge Perez-Diaz

Jorge Perez-Diaz

Jorge Perez-Diaz, a lawyer from Puerto Rico who now oversees the baseball reform movement in Latin America, told the Wall Street Journal that MLB teams have been subject to “an unreasonable amount of fraud and use of drugs” among Dominican prospects. “We needed to do this to make the industry sustainable here for the long-term,” he said.

My mind still boggles over handing a 16-year-old Dominican kid so much money without putting in place better programs to help them handle their new-found wealth.  Such large sums of money are life changing, but in the hands of the uneducated, as so many prospects are, it is tantamount to putting a loaded gun in their hands. Without supervision the results can be tragic.

Baseball will tell you that financial planning is provided these youngsters, but my belief is that it is insufficient in teaching them how to wisely protect their money, make sound investments for their future and that of their families, and prepare for a life without baseball, which is the fate of 98 percent.  The average signing bonus is around $100,000, and once an “agent” has taken his cut – usually around one-third – the “take home” is reduced.  I know of far too many Dominican prospects who have been handed more money than they can imagine, and within a short time are penniless, having spent the money as if it flowed from an eternal fountain, providing for family that has known only poverty and has been handed a taste of la buena vida.

The same happens to American athletes as well; teenagers suddenly transformed into millionaires, but most are better prepared to deal with the trappings of wealth.  When the DRSEA recently designed an educational program for a development academy here, we first conducted extensive diagnostic tests designed to determine the ability to do such simple things as interpret safety signals, use maps to identify home towns, locate information in television and movie listings, and identify driving regulations.  The majority had very limited ability to read and comprehend numbers, letters and simple words and phrases related to those needs, let alone manage money.

As baseball continues its reform movement, particularly with regards to education for prospects, I think it is critically important that teams provide more intensive financial advice, including budgeting, investments and long-range planning, helping them prepare for the day when a career in baseball is no longer an option – whether they are among the lucky few who have been handed millions or the majority whose riches, at best, are a few thousand dollars.  Wealth is subjective; managing it is not.

And while there is significant proof that Major League Baseball has made strides in addressing age and identity fraud, the problem has not been resolved, as evidenced by the recent suspension of Cincinnati Reds prospect Jonathan Correa for a year for lying about his age.

MLB determined the pitcher supplied an incorrect birth date when he signed in 2008.  Adding to his misdeeds is that after signing, Correa was suspended for 50 games for steroid use.

 

 

Las Grandes Ligas Cuentan Con Los Prospectos Dominicanos

Posted by Administrator | Posted in Dominican Republic & The MLB, Dominican Republic Baseball, Dominican Republic Culture, Uncategorized | Posted on 01-09-2011

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Las firmas aceleradas de contratos por prospectos peloteros dominicanos, las cuales incluyen un bono récord logrado por los Guardabosques de Texas, parece señalar que la fe creciente por parte de los equipos de las Grandes Ligas del Béisbol para frenar el fraude de edad e identidad en la República Dominicana es fehaciente y que tales esfuerzos salen bien.

El bono de cinco millones que se le dio a Nomar Mazara de 16 años de edad eclipsa los 4,25 millones otorgados a Michael Ynoa por los Atléticos de Oakland en 2008. Fue uno de varios bonos de más de 1 millón de dólares concedidos a un jugador dominicano después del 2 de julio, fecha desde la cual y en adelante los jóvenes de 16 años eran eligibles para firmar contratos. Los Guardabosques también firmaron a Ronald Guzmán, un  jardinero de 16 años, por 3,45 millones. Entre otras firmas de jugadores dominicanos figuran:

  • Elier Hernández, Jardinero – Royals de Kansas City, $3,05 millones
  • Helsin Martínez, Jardinero – Marineros de Seattle, $2 millones
  • Adalberto Mondesi, Parador Corto – Royals de Kansas City, $2 millones
  • Dawel Lugo, Parador Corto – Arrendajos Azules de Toronto, $1,3 millones
  • Enrique Acosta, Parador Corto – Cachorros de Chicago, $1,1 milllones
  • Dorssys Paulino, Parador Corto – Indios de Cleveland, $1,1 millones
  • Raymel Flores, Parador Corto – Medias Rojas de Boston, $900.000
  • Manuel Marcos, Jardinero – Medias Rojas de Boston, $800.000
  • Miguel Andújar, Tercera Base – Yankees de Nueva York, $750.000
  • Adelin Santa, Tercera Base – Tigres de Detroit, $750.000
  • Luis Reynoso, Parador Corto – Astros de Houston, $700.000
  • Miguel González, Lanzador Derecho – Mellizos de Minnesota, $650.000
  • Dioscar Romero, Lanzador Derecho – Medias Rojas de Boston, $600.000
  • Francisco Miguel, Jardinero – Indios de Cleveland, $200.000
Ronald Guzman, de los Rangers, fue uno de los Dominicanos firmado.

Ronald Guzman, de los Rangers, fue uno de los Dominicanos firmado.

No se enumeran los contratos celebrados con jugadores de otros países, incluso Venezuela, Colombia y Panamá. Los bonos internacionales por firmar superaron $100 millones el año pasado y se especula que en cuanto se completen las firmas este año, sobrepasarán ese monto. Todas las firmas estarán sujetas a la aprobación de la Oficina del Comisionado de las Grandes Ligas

Por lo visto las firmas reflejan aguas más tranquilas en el océano pelotero dominicano al cabo de un año lleno de tempestades que lanzaron el deporte acá y allá, amenazando a minar su integridad. Unas alegaciones del fraude de edad e identidad hicieron que muchos equipos actúaran con precaución con respeto a su obtención de prospectos.

En vísperas de las alegaciones y los informes revelando el uso de esteroides y acusaciones del desfalco monetario, el béisbol lanzó un movimiento principal de reforma, fortaleciendo las investigaciones del fraude a la vez. También entabló medidas para contenerlo, entre ellas la utilización de huellas dactilares para acertar la identidad de prospectos, un proceso defendido en el INFORMER hace dos años.

Jorge Perez-Diaz

Jorge Perez-Diaz

Jorge Pérez-Díaz, abogado de Puerto Rico que supervisa actualmente el movimiento de reforma en la América Latina, informó al Wall Street Journal que los equipos de Grandes Ligas han estado sujetos a “una cantidad excesiva de fraude y consumo de estupefacientes” entre los prospectos dominicanos. “Era necesario llevar a cabo esto para hacer la industria sostenible aquí a la larga,” dijo.

Me quedo patidifuso que se le pueda dar a un joven dominicano de 16 años tanto dinero sin implementar mejores programas que les ayuden a manejar su riqueza recién adquirida. Tales cantidades cuantiosas de dinero le cambian la vida a uno, y una vez llegadas en las manos de los

no instruidos, como la mayor parte de los prospectos, esto equivale a entregarles un arma de fuego cargada. Sin nadie que les supervise, los resultados pueden ser trágicos.

El béisbol les hará saber a Uds. que la planificación financiera se les provee a estos jóvenes, pero yo creo que carece de enseñarles cómo proteger su dinero de manera prudente, cómo realizar inversiones inteligentes para su futuro y el de sus familias, y prepararse para la vida fuera de la pelota, lo cual es el destino para un 98 por ciento. El bono promedio es alrededor de $100.000, y una vez que un agente haya sacado el suyo, el cual suele ser aproximadamente un tercio, sus ingresos netos son reducidos. Conozco demasiados prospectos dominicanos a quienes se les han dado más de lo que son capaces de manejar, y dentro de un plazo corto quedan sin nada, habiendo gastado la plata como si hubiera fluido de una fuente eterna, manteniendo una familia que únicamente conoce la pobreza y a la cual se le ha dado un primer contacto con la  riqueza.

Lo mismo les sucede a los atletas norteamericanos también; los adolescentes transformados de repente en millionarios, pero la mayor parte son mejor equipados para tratar con el boato de la riqueza. Cuando la DRSEA diseñó un programa educativo últimamente con el objetivo de establecer una academia para el desarrollo aquí, llevamos a cabo primero unos exámenes diagnósticos diseñados a determinar la habilidad de realizar tareas sencillas, tales como la interpretar señales de seguridad, utilizar mapas para identificar pueblos natales, localizar datos en la cartelera de cine y de televisión, e identificar los reglamentos del tránsito. La mayoría tuvo una capacidad muy limitada de leer y comprender números, letras y palabras sencillas y frases relacionadas con esas necesidades, y aún menos manejar el dinero.

A medida que el béisbol sigue su movimiento de reforma, con énfasis en los estudios para los prospectos en particular, creo que es imprescindible que los equipos les proporcionen más consejos sobre la planificación financiera, incluso cómo presupuestar, invertir y planificar a largo plazo. En fin, ayudarles a prepararse para cuando su carrera pelotera no les sea una opción, que se encuentren entre los pocos dichosos a quienes les han brindado millones o entre aquella mayoría cuyas riquezas que, al máximo, llegan a unos cuántos miles de dólares. Mientras que la riqueza es subjetiva, manejarla no lo es.

Además, como existen suficientes pruebas que apoyan los esfuerzos realizados por Grandes Ligas para tratar el fraude de edad e identidad, el problema no se ha resuelto. Esto se reflejó en la suspensión reciente del prospecto Jonathan Correa de los Rojos de Cincinnati por haber mentido referente a su edad.

Las Grandes Ligas de Béisbol determinaron que el lanzador entregó una fecha de nacimiento incorrecta al firmar en 2008. Una fechoría siguió otra para Correa, cuando después de firmar fue suspendido por 50 partidos por consumir esteroides.

Traducido por Arthur Calvano

 

Según El Cristal Con Que Se Mira (In The Eye Of The Beholder)

Posted by Administrator | Posted in Black & Latino Culture, Dominican Republic Culture, Uncategorized | Posted on 01-09-2011

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Henry Louis Gates

Henry Louis Gates

About a year ago, I was pleasantly surprised to see Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., one of the United States’ pre-eminent African American scholars, strolling in Columbus Park near my home.  He told me he was working on a documentary on blacks and Latinos; he has written about the uneasy relationship between the two, so I was very interested in what the documentary would reveal, particularly given my circumstances in the Dominican Republic.

I got to watch parts of his documentary series, Black in Latin America, where he looked at race and black culture in the Caribbean and South America, including the Dominican Republic, and he is now writing a book of the same name to expand on the series.  But recently an excerpt from the book appeared and gave me great pause as Gates declared that Dominicans are in denial with claims that they are anything but black.

He begins with this premise – “The most important question that this book attempts to explore is this: what does it mean to be “black” in these countries? Who is considered “black,” and under what circumstances, and by whom in these societies, the answers to which vary widely across Latin America in ways that will surprise most people in the United States.

“Few people (in the Dominican Republic) self-identify as black or Negro; rather, a wide majority of Dominicans –  most recently 82 percent in a federal census – designate their race as indio, while only 4.13 percent designate themselves as black. And I wanted to understand why.”

What surprised me is Gates would try to force-feed a racial ID on a country with a history older than the United States; people sometimes forget that Christopher Columbus landed here, and never set foot in any part of what is now the USA.

Columbus Park in Santo Domingo

Columbus Park in Santo Domingo

I do agree with him that the “African American Experience” is shared by the Dominican Republic and the United States,  including the history of slavery in which both became melting pots of Europeans, Africans and native people. Santo Domingo can actually claim the dubious distinction of being the first city in the New World to bring slaves from Africa, in 1502.  Between then and 1866, 11.2 million Africans were “imported” to the Americas.  Of those, only 450,000 were destined for what would become the United States of America.

Black slaves left their indelible mark on the Dominican Republic, staging the first slave rebellion in 1522, and today the faces of so many Dominicans bare evidence of that African ancestry.   In fact, 90 percent of Dominicans have some level of African bloodlines.

But the Dominicans I know do not consider themselves as black – at least not as I define myself, and others in the United States characterize themselves.  As Gates indicates, they call themselves indio, referring more to the color of their skin as being reflective of a total ancestry and not a single one, as being the indigenous people of the country.

I have personally seen Dominican siblings with the same mother and father; one sister fair-skinned with blond hair and blue eyes, the other dark complexion with curly, black hair.  In the U.S., one would be identified as white; the other black, with no familial connection.  Here, the genetic makeup of the nation produces so many such exotic combinations that they are commonplace.

In the United States, Barack Obama is identified as our black president; in reality, his mother is white, his father African. He is tabbed with a racial identity that is born of centuries of labeling people with even a drop of African blood as black, whether the person accepts it or not.

Gates would have Dominicans accept the same pigeonhole, and when you look at so many of the people here  –  they do look like him and me –   you understand his perspective.  It just doesn’t fit in this case.

César Gerónimo in his playing days

César Gerónimo in his playing days

My friend, César Gerónimo, a former big leaguer, has described to me his early days in America, playing baseball in the rural South, and being identified as “black,” and enduring the racial epithets that went with that. But he also had the double identity of being “Latino,” he said, further marginalizing him in a country that loves to marginalize along racial and cultural lines.

There have been numerous occasions in my time here that people have insisted that I must be Dominican, or at least my lineage somehow connected to the country.  I know now that they base their assumption on my complexion and the freckles that run in my family, concluding, quite correctly, that there are some people of non-African ancestry who climbed my family tree.

I think that rather than Dominicans being in denial that they are black, they refuse to classify themselves by just one race, to ignore the genetic sancocho that makes them uniquely Dominican, further united by culture, language and geographical proximity.

“Yo soy Dominicano,” is what they proudly declare. And that is as it should be.

 

Mejor De Su Clase (Top Of His Class)

Posted by Administrator | Posted in Black & Latino Culture, Farrell Family, Friends & Fun, Sports At Large, Uncategorized | Posted on 01-09-2011

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The Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2011 is an eclectic group to say the least, honoring oddball Dennis Rodman, Lithuanian Arvydas Sabonis, ABA pioneer Artis Gilmore, Harlem Globetrotters legend Reece “Goose’ Tatum, and Tex Winter, architect of the triangle offense.

But the top of the class, in my opinion, is Thomas “Satch” Sanders, a standout with the Boston Celtics who entered the Hall in recognition for “significant contributions to the game of basketball.”

I was privileged to get to know Satch when we both worked at the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University.  I, of course, knew of his fame on the basketball court, but I got to know the man, for which I am truly fortunate.

Satch was always the voice of reason at the Center, able to see both sides of any argument.  He never raised his voice or lost his demeanor; he was always cool, calm and collected.  Satch favored bow ties, which loaned him both sartorial and professorial splendor.

Satch Sanders

He never bragged about his playing days, but did give us insights to the environment he and others endured.  He told us how he was initially offered a $5,000 contract to play with the Celtics; he was able to negotiate it up to $8,000, a regal sum in those days, but necessitating the need to work in the off season.

Satch Sanders during his playing days

Satch Sanders during his playing days

Satch told us how teammate Bob Cousy, “Mr. Basketball” of the Celtics, was once offered $5,000 for a personal appearance.  When The Cooz turned down the offer, Bill Russell, who went on to become the first African American coach in the National Basketball Association, was offered the same opportunity – for $500.  Russell rejected the offer like he rejected opponents’ jump shots.

 

Satch also told us about the entire team rebelling when black players were provided inferior accommodations to those of their white counterparts, leading to improved uniformity in those conditions.

Satch spent his entire 13 year career with the Celtics and was part of eight championship teams in 1961-66, 1968 and 1969. In NBA history, only teammates Russell and Sam Jones won more championship rings during their playing careers. He ended his career in 1973.

Despite playing in an era when black players were at best under appreciated, Satch bore no ill will.  He coached the Celtics briefly and also had a stint as the basketball coach at Harvard.  After his coaching career, Satch helped create the NBA’s Rookie Transition Program, aimed at helping players adjust to life in professional basketball, and established the league’s player programs division.

As I watched the Basketball Hall of Fame inductions, my eyes welled with tears when Satch strode to the podium, humble in his thanks for the honor bestowed him.  No one deserved it more.

 

 

DRSEA Education Program Launched

Posted by Administrator | Posted in Dominican Republic & The MLB, Dominican Republic Baseball, DRSEA, DRSEA News & Developments, Uncategorized | Posted on 11-07-2011

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The Arias & Goodman Academy, one of the premiere baseball development programs in the Dominican Republic, has launched a pilot project developed by the Dominican Republic Sports & Education Academy to provide education for its prospects.

Gary Goodman

Gary Goodman

“Make no mistake about it,” said Gary Goodman in announcing the program. “We are in the business of preparing young Dominicans for careers in baseball; to help talented young men achieve their dreams. But there is also a social side that must be addressed.  Reality is that most of these kids will not succeed in baseball and we owe it to them to make sure they are prepared for life after baseball.”
 

The DRSEA designed the educational program to give the Arias & Goodman Academy prospects the tools to succeed in life on and off the field.

In designing the program, the DRSEA wanted to provide options and alternatives to just playing baseball.  While the DRSEA ultimately wants to prepare young Dominican boys to position themselves to qualify for baseball scholarships at U.S. colleges and universities, there are a multitude of others in camps like the Arias & Goodman Academy who need a solid and basic education.  The DRSEA wants to improve lives through the DRSEA experience, and what those lives can ultimately do to improve their country.

The Arias & Goodman Academy education program is custom designed to meet the needs of its prospects whose educational levels vary from minimal to intermediate; many dropped out of school to pursue their dreams.  Added to the challenge is that most of the prospects are only in the Arias & Goodman Academy, located in San Pedro de Macoris, for short periods of time.  The DRSEA had to take all that into account and come up with a program that will not only vastly expand the education levels of all prospects, but also provide them with additional life skills that will make them more complete human beings, and ultimately better baseball players as well, which will make them even more valuable to the Arias & Goodman Academy.

Batting practice at the Arias & Goodman Academy

Batting practice at the Arias & Goodman Academy

The program is heavy on developing conversational English, as well as critical thinking and life skills, but also provides general education in math, history, geography, art, health and nutrition, financial planning and acculturation.  This broad spectrum will allow the Arias & Goodman Academy prospects to develop skills in conceptualizing, analyzing, evaluating and applying information that they are exposed to; to make them better able to handle a multitude of decisions that will be coming their way as they mature.

Goodman said he believes his academy is the first of its kind to offer a comprehensive education program to prospects.  “Investing in the education of our players is important to us,” he said.  “We want to provide them with the skills to succeed beyond baseball. For while it is true that many of them will not make it all the way in baseball, we will try to give them the opportunity to develop skills that will help them throughout their lives.”

“For many of these young men, they are experiencing their first structured, disciplined environment. It is our hope that in the relatively short period of time they spend with us, they will awaken to the larger world and the opportunities it holds for them.”

Lanzado El Programa Educativo De La DRSEA – Spanish Version

Posted by Administrator | Posted in Dominican Republic & The MLB, Dominican Republic Baseball, DRSEA, DRSEA News & Developments, Uncategorized | Posted on 11-07-2011

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La Academia Arias y Goodman, uno de los primeros programas para el desarrollo del béisbol en la República Dominicana, ha lanzado un programa piloto que tiene por objeto proporcionar estudios a sus jugadores prospectos.

Gary Goodman

Gary Goodman

“No se equivoquen,” dijo Gary Goodman al dar a conocer el programa. “Nuestra línea de negocio se dedica a preparar a los jóvenes dominicanos para las carreras beisboleras y para ayudar a jóvenes talentosos a realizar sus sueños. Pero hay un lado social también que se tiene que enfrentar. Es decir, la realidad es que la mayoría de estos jóvenes no tendrán éxito en el béisbol, por lo cual es nuestro deber asegurarles la preparación para la vida después del juego.”

La DRSEA diseñó el programa educativo para dar a los prospectos de la Academia Arias y Goodman las herramientas para que tengan éxito en la vida, dentro y fuera del campo.

Al desarrollar el programa, la DRSEA quería brindar opciones y alternativas más allá del juego. Mientras que la DRSEA desea preparar a los jóvenes dominicanos para que estén en una posición que les dé derecho a conseguir becas universitarias peloteras en las universidades estadounidenses a la larga, también quedan muchos en los campamentos como el de la Academia Arias y Goldman que requieren una educación tanto sencilla como sólida. La DRSEA tiene como objetivo mejorar las vidas a través de la experiencia DRSEA, e impactar cómo esas vidas eventualmente lleguen a mejorar su país.

La Academia Arias y Goodman hace uso de un diseño personalizado para satisfacer las necesidades de sus prospectos, cuyos niveles educativos van de lo mínimo a lo intermedio, dado que muchos han abandonado sus estudios en busca de sus sueños. El hecho de que la mayoría de los prospectos sólo pasan ratos breves en la Academia Arias y Goodman intensifica el desafío. La DRSEA tuvo que tomar todo eso en cuenta e idear un programa que no sólo ampliará bastante los niveles educativos de todos los prospectos, sino también les proporcionará habilidades vitalicias adicionales que les harán seres humanos más completos y mejores peloteros a la larga, lo cual hará que aporten aun más valor a la Academia Arias y Goodman.

Práctica de bateo en la Academia Arias y Goodman

Práctica de bateo en la Academia Arias y Goodman

El programa pone mucho énfasis en desarrollar la capacidad del inglés conversacional, el pensamiento crítico y las destrezas vitalicias, pero también ofrece estudios generales en las matemáticas, la historia, la geografía, el arte, la salud y la nutrición, la planificación financiera, y la aculturación. Este amplio espectro les permitirá a los prospectos de la Academia Arias y Goodman a desarrollar habilidades para conceptualizar, evaluar y aplicar datos a los que estén expuestos, para que traten mejor con la multitud de decisiones que se les presenten como se desarrollen.

Goodman dijo que cree que su academia es la primera de su clase en ofrecer un programa educativo global a los prospectos. “Nos importa invertir en la educación de nuestros jugadores,” dijo él. “Queremos proporcionarles las habilidades necesarias para tener éxito más allá del béisbol. Verdad que muchos no se colarán a las Grandes Ligas, pero intentaremos darles la oportunidad de desarrollar habilidades que les ayudarán de por vida.”

“Para una gran parte de estos jóvenes, están experimentado su primer ambiente estructurado y disciplinado. Tenemos la esperanza de que durante el plazo breve que pasen con nosotros se despierten al mundo más grande y a las oportunidades que les depare.”

Traducido por Arthur Calvano

Sesión Especial De Documental Sobre El Béisbol Dominicano (Special Screening of Dominican Baseball Documentary)

Posted by Administrator | Posted in Dominican Republic & The MLB, Dominican Republic Baseball, Dominican Republic Organizations, DRSEA, DRSEA News & Developments, DRSEA Sponsorship & Donation Opportunities, Uncategorized | Posted on 11-07-2011

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The Dominican Republic Sports & Education Academy held a special screening of “El Play,” a documentary on Dominican baseball, on June 21 at the 809 Lounge, 112 Dyckman St., New York, NY.   The screening, followed by a panel discussion on baseball and education in the Dominican Republic, as well as a VIP reception, was part of a DRSEA fundraiser.

“El Play” is produced, directed and written by Pablo A. Medina, an assistant professor at the Parsons New School for Design in New York City, and has won several film festival awards.

Alfredo Arias drives home point

Alfredo Arias drives home point

Cincinnati  Reds legends Tony Perez and Pete Rose served as honorary co-chairs of the event; panelists for the discussion included: Joel Araujo, a specialist in the International Baseball Operations Department for Major League Baseball;  Pablo A. Medina, producer, director and writer of “El Play;” Charles S. Farrell, co-founder and project director of the Dominican Republic Sports & Education Academy;  Julio Pabón, founder of the Latino Sports Writers & Broadcasters Association (LSWBA), as well as founder of Latino Sports Ventures, Inc.; and Alfredo Arias, partner in the Arias & Goodman Academy.

The film’s main character is Jairo Candelario, a young aspiring baseball player from the town of San Pedro de Macoris, a small city in the Dominican Republic famous for producing some of the best players in the majors, including New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Canó.  The film follows Jairo’s dream of signing a professional contract, and includes conversations with his family, and interviews with professional scouts, coaches and a baseball historian.

Co-hosting the event was the Juan Pablo Duarte Foundation, which focuses its energy on the educational needs of the Dominican community – the largest, and one of the poorest, immigrant groups in New York City.

The event was well attended, and included several Dominican government representatives, former baseball players, and executives from Major League Baseball.

Julio Pabón advocates education for Dominican prospects

Julio Pabón advocates education for Dominican prospects

“El Play” was well received by the audience, but the panel discussion was what set the event apart. While a multitude of opinions were shared, everyone concurred that education has to be a centerpiece in the development of young baseball players in the Dominican Republic.

The DRSEA is looking to screen “El Play” in other venues before the end of the year. Those wishing to make a donation to the Dominican Republic Sports & Education Academy can do so by going to www.drsea.org or by sending a check to the DRSEA at:

 

 

Dominican Republic Sports & Education Academy

600 Anita Street, #16

Chula Vista, CA 91911

 

Mensaje En La Música (Message In The Music)

Posted by Administrator | Posted in Black & Latino Culture, Farrell Family, Friends & Fun, Uncategorized | Posted on 11-07-2011

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Gil Scott-Heron

Gil Scott-Heron

Not long ago, the world lost an iconic poet and musician when Gil Scott-Heron, a voice of black conscience in the 1970s and beyond, passed away at age 62.   I lost an inspiration from my youth who remains part of my own conscience today.

Gil and I were students together at Lincoln University; I was a mere freshman and he was already creating a legacy that began with “The Vulture,” his first novel at 19; his book of poetry, “Small Talk at 125th and Lenox,” and a second novel, “The Nigger Factory,” which some said was about Lincoln.

Gil stood out to me as the one of the first black intellectuals I met in life who was in my peer group. Having gone to a white high school, I was seldom around blacks my own age who could articulate the politics and racism of America at that time.  His poetry and music were a voice of black protest, reflecting simultaneous pride and anger.

I was fortunate to have spent hours with Gil, sometimes in the company of other students, sometimes alone, discussing the important issues of the day, from apartheid in South Africa, police oppression in America, war and genocide in Vietnam, and the need for black people to have a social conscience;  to stand up and be heard.

My signature Gil Scott-Heron moment was my freshman year when Mrs. Winkel, my Humanities teacher, gave a class assignment to select a poet and defend their literary contributions.  I know Mrs. Winkel was expecting Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Paul Laurence Dunbar or Countee Cullen; I picked Gil, much to her consternation. I do not think it was anything particularly against Gil; I think it was that although he was a rising star, he had not ascended enough to have won the critical acclaim she felt was warranted by the attention I wanted to give him.

Gil and I talked about my presentation in depth; he even wrote a half -dozen original poems for the assignment.  I got an “A,”  which was high praise from one of the toughest – and fairest – teachers I ever had.  And somewhere in the deep recesses in the attic of my family home is a small collection of unpublished Gil Scott-Heron poetry.

Gil and fellow student Brian Jackson, my classmate, had a jazz group on campus that always took top prize at the Homecoming talent show.  His music and message were always cutting edge, with its mix of blues, jazz, and spoken word whose style recalled the Harlem Renaissance.  But Gil’s message was also hard hitting as he took on the Establishment with his “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” “Johannesburg,” “Winter In America,” Who’ll Pay Reparations On My Soul?” “Pieces Of A Man,” “Home Is Where The Hatred Is,” and so many more.

As gifted as Gil was, he also seemed tormented at times; maybe that is why his music and lyrics reflected such pathos.  Even at Lincoln, it was well known that Gil was into drugs, and tragically his addiction haunted him his entire life.  He was convicted twice of cocaine possession and even served a jail sentence for parole violation.

I kept up with him over the years, catching a concert here and there, giving him a shout out whenever possible.  Sometimes he said he remembered me, sometimes he didn’t.  I last saw him in concert about three years ago in New York City; he looked old and frail and, while never a great singer, his voice strained to capture the familiar melodies from his better days.

Last year, he released “I‘m New Here,” his first album in 16 years.  Reviews referred to him as “the godfather of rap,” a label he rejected, but which was accurate.  Not true rapper today could reject the influence of Gil on the genre.

It saddened me greatly to hear of his passing, particularly given the tragic circumstances of much of his life.  He was simply one of the most interesting, complex and compelling individuals I ever met. He was a great talent, and a great influence; hopefully, like all truly great artists, his message will live on.

Support the DRSEA, Sponsor A Special Screening of “El Play” in New York City

Posted by Administrator | Posted in Dominican Republic & The MLB, Dominican Republic Baseball, DRSEA, DRSEA News & Developments, DRSEA Sponsorship & Donation Opportunities, Uncategorized | Posted on 27-04-2011

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"El Play"

"El Play"

The Dominican Republic Sports & Education Academy (DRSEA) will present a special screening of “El Play,” (watch “El Play” trailer) a documentary on Dominican baseball, on June 21, 2011 at 7 p.m. at the 809 Lounge, 112 Dyckman St., New York, NY.

The screening, followed by a panel discussion and VIP reception, is part of a fundraiser for the DRSEA, whose mission is to educate young and gifted student athletes in the Dominican Republic, help develop their baseball skills, and give them the tools to success in life on and off the field.  Through a rigorous educational component, the DRSEA will prepare young boys to have the opportunity for scholarships at U.S. colleges and universities.

Co-hosting the event is the Juan Pablo Duarte Foundation, which focuses its energy on the educational needs of the Dominican community – the largest, and one of the poorest, immigrant groups in New York City.

“El Play” is produced, directed and written by Pablo A. Medina, an assistant professor at the Parsons New School for Design in New York City.   The film’s main character is Jairo Candelario, a young aspiring baseball player from the town of San Pedro de Macoris, a small city in the Dominican Republic famous for producing some of the best players in the majors, including New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Canó.  The film follows Jairo’s dream of signing a professional contract, and includes conversations with his family, and interviews with professional scouts, coaches and a baseball historian.

The DRSEA’s goal is to build a state-of-the-art sports and education complex in the Dominican Republic.  Currently, there are about 3,500 young Dominicans in baseball camps throughout the country.  Ninety-eight percent will fail to have professional baseball careers.  Half of Minor League Baseball is Latino, the bulk of them Dominicans. Most are uneducated or undereducated, without even a high school diploma in a country where there is a strong need for a skilled and educated workforce.  Most drop out of school after the 5th grade! The Academy will not guarantee anyone a professional career, but will hopefully put them in a position where OPTIONS are available.  In the event that a graduate is unable to secure a career as a professional athlete, the Academy and/or a college education will permit them to pursue other careers, many of which could have explicit impact on the future of the Dominican Republic as a whole.  For more information, please visit www.drsea.org.

“EL PLAY” SPONSORSHIP LEVELS

“HOME RUN”

$5,000 Level “Title Sponsor”

* Includes 20 tickets to the screening with VIP seating

* 10 tickets to VIP reception

* Signage at screening and reception

* Full-page ad in program

* Dais recognition at the event

* Acknowledgement in all press and PR materials as “Title Sponsor”

* Option to give out premiums

* Link and logo on DRSEA website

“TRIPLE”

$2,500 Level

* Includes 15 tickets to screening

* 7 tickets to VIP reception

* Half-page ad in program

* Signage at screening

* Acknowledgement in press and PR materials

* Option to give out premiums

“DOUBLE”

$1,000 Level

* Includes 10 tickets to screening

* 5 tickets to VIP reception

* Quarter-page ad in program

* Option to give out premiums

“SINGLE”

$500  Level

* Includes 5 tickets to screening

* 2 tickets to VIP reception

* Mention in program

 

Individual ticket price:

* $25 screening

* $50 screening & VIP reception

 

Print out a Sponsorship form, along with the "El Play" screening information.

 

“El Play” Trailer


ELPLAY_Trailer by cubanica

Muéstrame El Dinero (Show Me The Money)

Posted by Administrator | Posted in Black & Latino Culture, Dominican Republic & The MLB, Dominican Republic Baseball, Uncategorized | Posted on 27-04-2011

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The baseball industry is spending more money in the Dominican Republic than I previously believed, according to the latest economic impact study by Major League Baseball.

At an astounding $126,326,008, the annual expenditures are over $25 million more than I had calculated, and is $50 million more than presented in Major League Baseball’s first economic impact profile in 2003, meaning baseball’s financial impact on the island continues to grow.

According to Major League Baseball, several factors have contributed to the increase in investment in the Dominican Republic, most directly the production of quality players, coaches, scouts and other baseball personnel.  But there have also been negatives that have affected the investment as well, including age and identity fraud, steroid usage and increasing competition from other countries in the development of prospects, leading baseball to ponder the sustainability of its substantial investment.

Prospects were paid $37,233,500 in signing bonuses during the 2009 calendar year, Major League Baseball said, actually a decrease from the previous year. MLB said the fluctuations in signing bonuses reflect supply and demand in the baseball marketplace, as well as the fact teams are less willing to take monetary risks as a result of age and identity fraud, which is viewed as a detriment to the growth of the baseball industry in the Dominican Republic.

A whopping $17,961,384 was spent in 2009 for player development academies, according to the economic study, which reports that currently there are 30 academies in the Dominican Republic operated by major league teams, as well as six in Venezuela and one in Brazil, for a total of 37 camps in Latin America.

Operating baseball academies in the Dominican Republic cost teams $17,961,384 in 2009

Operating baseball academies in the Dominican Republic cost teams $17,961,384 in 2009

An additional $3,213,750 was spent on operating the Dominican Summer League, originally created in 1985 as a development platform for prospects who did not have a visa to travel to the United States. It has become one of the most productive minor league systems with 326 players from various nationalities in the majors.

Teams spent $360,000 for travel to the Dominican Republic to observe and monitor scouting and player development.

The economic impact study also factored in Dominican Major League players’ salaries and the percentage directly reinvested in the Dominican Republic.  Conservatively estimating that 20 percent of those salaries directly comes into the Dominican Republic, Major League Baseball calculated the reinvestment using the opening day roster for 2010 – with 77 Dominicans earning a total of $309,773,477 – for an assumed 20 percent reinvestment of $61,954,695.  Major League Baseball added in its report, “Although we do not quantify the economic impact of former players, it is important to mention their investment in real estate and businesses that have a recurring positive impact on the local economy.”

Major League Baseball also calculated minor league players’ salaries, and the percentage reinvested in the country was estimated at 50 percent, for a total of $3,508,055.

Baseball also contributed $844,624 in donations and support for governmental institutions in the Dominican Republic, including to the National Baseball Commissioner of the Dominican Republic, community initiatives financed by USAID, and the Dominican Republic RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) programs.  Major League Baseball also pointed out that its economic impact has fostered donations and support from other sources that directly or indirectly benefit the Dominican Republic including charity golf tournaments, holiday activities and others.  It was noted in the report that more than $3,379,500 was donated to Haiti earthquake relief through baseball related sources.

And finally, $1,250,000 was spent on operating Major League Baseball’s office in the Dominican Republic.  The size and operating budget have increased as investment by teams has increased over the past decade.  The office opened in 2000, a few months after a delegation I led to the Dominican Republic at Major League Baseball’s behest filed a report citing the need to improve conditions at existing academies.

Major League Baseball headquarters in Santo Domingo

Major League Baseball headquarters in Santo Domingo

 

SUMMARY OF MLB ECONOMIC IMPACT IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Signing Bonuses $ 37,233,500
Operation of academies 17,961,384
Dominican Summer League 3,213,750
Travel to the Dominican Republic 360,000
Reinvestment of Dominican Major Leaguers 61,954,695
Reinvestment of Dominican Minor Leaguers 3,508,055
Donations and governmental support 844,624
MLB Dominican Republic office 1,250,000
Total $126,326,008

 

One economic impact that could not be calculated was that on the informal sector of the economy whose operations and income depend on Major League Baseball and its teams.  “Although it is difficult to place an amount on this value,” the report said, “we witness hundreds of leagues, agents, and independent trainers that develop activities to sign prospects.  During the last five years, the investment by the informal baseball sector has grown significantly with the operation of new and more sophisticated academies and programs.”

And there was one more important impact the industry has, according to Major League Baseball; that of “name recognition,” having projected the name of the Dominican Republic to many parts of the world.  “Due to the efforts of many star players and managers, many foreigners know the name of the Dominican Republic through its baseball players,” the report stated.  “As the country seeks to increase its exports and tourist potential to the US, Canadian and Japanese markets, the names of its baseball players become an important asset.”