Matalon: In Colombia, education through baseball

From Lorne Matalon at Fronteras Desk on March 8, 2016, with mention of SABR member Rob Ruck:

Baseball, a sure sign of Spring, is around the corner.

In the meantime, Major League Baseball’s offseason is “go time” for young players at MLB’s baseball academies in places like the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. The academies are high-intensity training centers designed to nurture and develop the cream of Latin America’s emerging baseball player crop.

However, the vast majority of young academy players don’t get signed to a pro contract. They devote time, effort and expense to chasing the dream of a pro career in the United States but that often comes at the expense of a high school education.

In Colombia, some emerging baseball players say they have an alternate goal in honing their baseball talent. And it’s not to necessarily make it to the big leagues.

We traveled to Estadio Tomás Arrieta, home of the Édgar Rentería Baseball Academy in the port city of Barranquilla on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. The academy is not affiliated with an MLB team, though pro scouts do pass by from time to time. The academy accepts students on a sliding scale, meaning that their families pay the academy whatever they can afford to attend.

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Originally published: March 8, 2016. Last Updated: March 8, 2016.