The Path to the Sugar Mill or the Path to Millions: MLB Baseball Academies’ Effect on the Dominican Republic

By Thomas McKenna

This article was published in the Spring 2017 Baseball Research Journal.

 

Ozzie VirgilFor many Dominican children, a future in the sugar cane fields, the hotel or travel industry, or some other low-paying job may seem inevitable. But when Major League Baseball (MLB) began obtaining talent from the Dominican Republic (D.R.), Dominican boys could dream of making heaps of money hitting home runs. For a few, baseball became the path out of poverty, while the vast majority were left with a future draped in it. The road out of poverty ran through baseball academies built by individual MLB teams to develop talent. Many of these facilities offered no education beyond classes in the English language and American culture. When MLB teams first explored the D.R., they hit the talent lottery; but what MLB and the D.R. exchanged was extraordinary and complicated. Though MLB’s main objective was to obtain talent from the country, this operation created many side effects that still affect Dominican boys, their families, and communities today. Both harms and benefits result, but was the overall effect on the D.R. positive or negative?

Baseball Comes to the Dominican Republic

Baseball had been present in the D.R. long before the academies. When Cuban refugees fleeing the Ten Years' War (1868–78) came to the D.R., they brought baseball, already popular in Cuba, with them.1 The sport quickly caught on as an informal recreational sport. Alan Klein, a Professor at Northeastern University with years of experience studying Dominican baseball, states, “Dominicans didn't have an established sports tradition, so the game didn't have to compete [against other sports].”2 However, other historians have argued that the Dominicans’ cricket roots helped baseball settle.3 Life in many towns revolved around a booming sugar industry and sugar-grinding factories began to establish their own baseball teams.4 “Workers were the core of the teams,” said Klein, “and they were rewarded for winning by not having to work. So, baseball was a way for them to avoid the backbreaking labor of cutting sugar cane. The competition between the refineries developed an exceptional brand of baseball.”5 Baseball rose in popularity to the point that it could be considered a national pastime for the country, where every field is full of baseball-adoring Dominican boys. “It's more than a game," Dominican Winter League general manager Winston Llenas once remarked; "[i]t's a national fever. It's almost our way of life."6

During the twentieth century, the Dominican baseball fields evolved into more than recreational spaces; they became banks of professional talent. In the early 1900s, the Dominicans established the Dominican Professional Baseball League, a stepping stone for a milestone in Dominican baseball history: Ozzie Virgil became the first Dominican-born player to play for a major league team in the United States in 1956 when he debuted for the New York Giants.7 From the 1950s to late 1960s, much of the international talent in MLB came from Cuba.8 However, in the early 1970s, due to political tensions between the newly communist Cuba and the US, “Castro stopped allowing players to emigrate to play in the major leagues and MLB turned more and more to the [D.R.] for their players," said Klein.9 The number of Cuban major leaguers dropped from 30 in 1970 to 13 five years later.10 When MLB explored the D.R., they found the “well-built baseball infrastructure and some challenging economic conditions . . . [fostered] an environment for talent.”11 MLB could also take advantage of the poverty of the D.R. and “cast a wide net by signing as many players as possible . . .”12 MLB organizations could obtain and train players for a tiny price compared to the cost in the US.13 “Teams prefer[ed] to sign twenty Dominicans at $5,000 apiece, rather than only two Americans at $50,000 each.”14 By opening day 2015 the D.R. would be well represented with 83 players on MLB rosters.15 The difficulty about the wealth of talent to be found was that teams could not obtain enough visas for the large number of players they signed to come the the United States to work and train.16 To reduce the number of visas needed and to maintain their concept of “casting a wide net.” (signing many players) the teams began building development facilities in the D.R.17 The MLB academy system would unintentionally create jobs and business opportunities for the D.R.

The Era of the Academy

Before the official MLB academies began, one man built the first talent development facility on a patch of farmland north of Santo Domingo in 1973.18 Epifanio “Epy” Guerrero, a Dominican-born player who played in the US minor leagues, became the leading scout in his native country, eventually working for four different teams and signing more Dominican talent than any other scout.19 According to Fred Guerrero, Epy’s son and current Latin American scout supervisor for the Minnesota Twins, “it was very hard for [Epy] to get players to commute every day to his field, so he needed to build some sort of a house where he could house them so they wouldn’t have to commute . . . that’s where it all started.”20 The facility grew in size and later became affiliated with the Blue Jays. Although Epy Guerrero passed away in 2013, his legacy will be remembered as the man who opened up the exploration of Dominican talent and laid the foundation for today’s MLB academies.21

Pedro MartinezFourteen years after Epy Guerrero started his private academy, the LA Dodgers decided to experiment with the concept. In 1987 the Dodgers established the first MLB-affiliated academy “to give the Dominican rookies a chance to learn English and American culture, as well as train them in the Dodger way of playing.”22 MLB academies started popping up in the D.R., and by 2003, all 30 MLB teams had active academies in the Dominican.23 These facilities were places where players from ages 16 through 21 could not only practice on smooth fields, but also build up their bodies by eating well, lifting weights, and sleeping on bunks with sheets.24 “Here you get to eat every day,” a boy at an academy explained, “that’s not always the case at home.”25 Some academies provided English classes to help break the language barrier.26 Although the academies helped the ballplayers who were signed, they also helped the strongly-bonded communities they came from. According to Rob Ruck, a history professor at the University of Pittsburgh, “[M]ost Dominicans saw [the academy] as a very positive step toward cultivating more young Dominican ballplayers.”27 He explains, “The subsequent development of academies by every MLB franchise represents a significant economic jolt for the nation's economy and has provided jobs for thousands on and off the field.”28 The academy was a tremendous innovation, the start of a new age, and an expansion of MLB’s international presence.

The Costs and Benefits of the Academies

The costs and benefits brought about by the academies were unique and complicated; this was especially the case with player trainers known by some as buscones. “Buscar” in Spanish means “to look for,” so buscones looked for “talented middle school-aged boys . . . in an effort to train them in an unofficial baseball training facility until they reach[ed] the age of sixteen, the legal signing age.”29 The buscone industry started because Dominican men saw a chance to make money from the pool of boys hoping to make it to the major leagues. If the boy was signed to an MLB team, the buscone that developed the player usually took 30% of the signing bonus as pay from the prospect.30 One might think that this payment system encouraged the buscone to treat the player well, given that the only way he received pay was if his player signed with a team. Fred Guerrero claims that the buscone and the player have a “good trustworthy relationship,” and adds that, “players love their buscones as if they were family.”31 However, the treatment a young boy received from a buscone could vary. Rob Ruck claims, “Parents, who are most often poorly educated and know little about the business of baseball, rarely serve as a check on less-than-ethical buscones.”32 Although buscones seem to help some players on the narrow road through the academy, some will treat their players more like products than human beings: “[Buscones] might steal from a boy, enmesh him in career-damaging fraud and even administer PEDs [performance enhancing drugs].”33 Since these buscones are not overseen by any organization, it is hard to quantify what treatment boys have received. The buscones can’t be simply classified as a cost or a benefit.

Critics of the academy system believe that MLB’s presence in the Dominican Republic took an educational toll on Dominican boys. Between the ages of 12 and 14, many boys drop out of school to start their training with a buscone.34 Without the distractions of school, they practice hard for four years with nothing but baseball to focus on, but one Dominican scout estimated that only one out of 40 players would make it to the academy.35 The rest are left without an education. Even those who make it to the academies only receive English and American culture classes. Currently, only the Arizona Diamondbacks academy provides players with the chance to finish high school and receive a formal education.36 In Children Left Behind, Adam Wasch argues that “MLB’s operation in the D.R. has had an effect on the education of young boys,” citing evidence from Nationmaster that he admits is “circumstantial.”37 According to sources cited in Wasch’s paper, more boys dropped out of school compared to their girl counterparts throughout the secondary level.38 Although Wasch may point to baseball as the vacuum that has been pulling Dominican boys out of school, some may have been going work for their families in the sugar-cane fields, the hotel industry, or garment factories. MLB may not be the sole force plucking Dominican boys out of school and leaving them uneducated and vulnerable to an impoverished life.

A player's salary at an academy is a fortune compared to regular pay in the D.R. Diana Spagnuolo, author of Swinging for the Fence, remarks that “Players in their first year at an academy earn $600 US per month. Second-year players earn $700 and those in their third year earn $750 per month.”39 For comparison, a low skills job in a clothing factory pays just $100 per month. In a barbershop one former ballplayer tried cutting hair for $3.75 per head.40,41 The disparity is such that even players who made it to an academy but were dropped after two years may have earned as much money in that time as their parents would in 13 years of work. As Klein emphasized: “Ballplayers have a better chance of feeding their families EVEN IF THEY NEVER MAKE IT TO THE MAJOR LEAGUES [sic]”42 To Americans, education seems the smart path to take, but Klein argues that, “We can tell inner city kids [in the US] to stay in school because if they do, there will be potential for [higher-paying] employment. But in the DR it's different. The man who was the bellhop at my hotel was a lawyer. He needed to work at this low level job because being a lawyer didn't pay enough.”43 Although it may seem that MLB is a big corporation that takes these boys’ educations from their hands, boys who decided to pursue an education instead of a baseball career may not have landed more lucrative jobs as a result..

Not only did the academies financially enrich the players, they also directly and indirectly created jobs in Dominican towns and cities. Carrie Meyer, professor of economics at George Mason University, claims that, “The total annual economic impact in terms of dollars spent in the Dominican Republic (excluding building costs) thus came to about $35 million in 2005.”44Employment directly related to the academies included construction workers, cooks, janitors, groundskeepers, and scouts.45 There were also indirect opportunities created. Meyer observes, “The multiplier effects are felt throughout these poor communities.”46 In addition to the buscones, jobs arose such as trainers, merchandise sellers, motorbike ride-for-hires to take fans to stadia, and many more. Spagnuolo agrees: “Overall, an academy's presence helps to create jobs and stimulate economic activity in its host community.”47 Clearly, MLB enhanced the prospects of Dominican boys, their families, and their strongly-bonded communities.

In the encounter between the Dominican people and MLB academies, MLB has clearly benefited. In exchange for its investments, MLB had received All-Star and Hall of Fame caliber players for a fraction of what it would cost to recruit and develop the same talent in the United Stated. The other side of the transaction was a mixed blessing; sacrificing many Dominican boys’ educations in exchange for jobs, and a narrow path out of poverty for a lucky fraction. In some cases Dominican boys helped to support and feed their families while others received a golden ticket out of the impoverished country altogether. Pitcher Pedro Martinez’s words articulate the boys’ feelings of hope: "I didn't see a better path because I saw no other path . . . I told my mother and father . . . I’m going to become a professional baseball player, and when I do, I will send my money home so none of you have to work anymore.”48 This dream to make it through the narrow gate had consequences for those who chose to follow it. Yet, based on the evidence I have considered, the benefits of MLB academies overall outweighed the costs.

This paper was written by THOMAS McKENNA, a home-schooled seventh grader in Lovettsville, Virginia, for the National History Day competition, where it won the 2016 Lee Allen History of Baseball Award, sponsored by SABR.

 

Annotated Bibliography

Primary sources

Alfano, Peter. “Barriers to Advancement Thwart Hispanic Players.” The New York Times, May 4, 1987, Late Edition (East Coast), sec. C, C6. Accessed November 13, 2015. ProQuest Historical Newspapers.

In this newspaper article, Peter Alfano, the reporter, exposed difficulties the Dominican players faced such as the language barrier and some racism from fans. It helped me understand how hard it was for Dominicans to make it to the major leagues before the academy system.

Chass, Murray. “Dodgers Get to Keep Beltre, but Are Penalized.” The New York Times, December 22, 1999, Sports, D1+. Accessed November 13, 2015. ProQuest Historical Newspapers.

In 1999, Adrian Beltre’s age was investigated after signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was found to have signed one year earlier than the required signing age of 16. This is an example of what has been happening with age scandals ever since MLB began signing players from the Dominican Republic. More Dominican ballplayers lie about their identity or age than anybody can guess, but only a few are discovered.

Guerrero, Fred. Interview. January 27, 2016.

When I contacted Fred Guerrero, the son of scout legend Epy Guerrero, he responded to my list of questions about varying subjects on Dominican Baseball. He shared his opinions and experiences dealing with buscones and the Dominican people. One interesting fact was that buscones prefer to be called agents or trainers.

———Telephone interview by the author. January 28, 2016.

Fred Guerrero, who is the son of Epy Guerrero, the father of the academies, is a scouting supervisor for the Twins. Also, Guerrero signed powerhouse Miguel Sano, who is now in the major leagues. In my phone interview, he shared stories about the early academies, remarked on the evolution of them, and discussed the excitement Dominicans bring to the game.

Marichal, Juan, and Lew Freedman. Juan Marichal: My Journey from the Dominican Republic to Coooperstown. N.p.: MVP Books, 2011.

This autobiography by Juan Marichal relates the story of his baseball career starting in the Dominican. This firsthand account provided me with compelling facts about childhood in the Dominican Republic. I used the first few chapters of this book for research on the life before the academies.

Martinez, Pedro, and Michael Silverman. Pedro. N.p.: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015.

Pedro Martinez’s autobiography describes his early life in the Dominican Republic, his path through the minors, and his stardom in the big leagues. I used the first part of the book to get a grasp of the impoverished life of Dominican families.

Wulf, Steve. “Standing Tall at Short.” Sports Illustrated, February 9, 1987, 132-35. Accessed January 18, 2016. http://www.si.com/vault/issue/702375/152/2.

This magazine feature described the path through the sandlots and the academies to the major leagues for specific Dominican Major League players like Tony Fernandez and Julio Franco. It also spotlights the small town of San Pedro de Macoris, a town that has produced a vast number of shortstops for MLB. This articles provided firsthand accounts from Dominican players to give me a sense of not only the poverty that Dominicans live in but also their love for the game.

 

Secondary Sources

“The Education Crisis Crippling Dominican Baseball Players.” Video file. YouTube. Posted by VICE Sports, June 18, 2015. Accessed September 30, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bVsbi79rUM.

This short documentary explains the education crisis in the D.R., and the Dominican’s baseball culture in general. This video helped with understanding the educational situation, gathering information on the current MLB academies, and grasping the aftermath for those who do not get signed or get released from an MLB team.

Goodman, Jared, dir. Rumbo A Las Grandes Ligas. 2008. N.p.: IndiePix, n.d. DVD.

Road to the Big Leagues shows the Dominicans' love for the game of baseball. Dominican boys risk an education to take a shot at a professional baseball career. This system has produced many Dominican superstars in MLB, but it also has sent many impoverished boys back to the Dominican Republic.

Ghosh, Palash. "Huge Salaries and a Poverty-Stricken Country: The Economics of

Baseball in the Dominican Republic." International Business Times, January 24, 2014. Accessed May 11, 2016. http://www.ibtimes.com/huge-salaries-poverty-stricken-country-economics-....

Possibly my most important source for the economic side of the topic, this International Business Times article was well-balanced between statistics on and analysis of how the money Dominican players make can help themselves and their home communities. Ghosh's article emphasizes the art of acquiring cheap players from impoverished communities.

Jaffe, Jay. “Epy Guerrero, scout who helped open Dominican pipeline to majors, dies at 71.” Sports Illustrated, May 24, 2013. Accessed January 20, 2016. http://www.si.com/mlb/strike-zone/2013/05/24/epy-guerrero-scout-who-help....

This recent obituary summarizes the accomplishments that made Eoy Guerrero a Dominican baseball legend. The description of Guerrero’s original idea of an early academy helped me understand how the academy evolved. 

Jessop, Alicia. “The Secrets behind the Dominican Republic’s Success in the World Baseball Classic and MLB.” Forbes, March 19, 2014. Accessed May 14, 2016. http://www.forbes.com/sites/aliciajessop/2013/03/19/the-secrets-behind-t....

In answer to the question of why there is a vast number of players from the Dominican playing in MLB, Alicia Jessop explains the economic conditions and baseball tradition in the Dominican Republic. Even though the economic shortcomings hold the Dominican children back, the poverty helps to drive the market for baseball talent up. Since MLB teams can sign players for cheaper contracts, they can sign more players.

Klein, Alan. E-mail interview by the author. January 4, 2016.

In my email correspondence with Professor Klein, he explained his view on conflicts such as the early days of baseball in the D.R., the startup of the academies, and the educational and economic crisis in the DR. In particular, he recounted a story of his bellhop in the D.R., who was originally a lawyer, but unlike in the US, lawyers did not get paid very much, so he needed to work a low-paying job. Klein’s insight on the education crisis—that boys who did get an education could be as unlikely to get a job as those who didn’t—made it clear how there may not be jobs in the first place for Dominican boys.

Knopper, Steve. “The Lure of Baseball in the Dominican Republic.” The New York Times, October 29, 2015, Travel. Accessed February 7, 2016. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/01/travel/dominican-republic-baseball.htm....

In Steve Knopper’s travel article about baseball in the Dominican describes the enthusiasm Dominicans have for baseball, the buzz of winter league games, and the life of the communities revolving around the beloved game of baseball.

Kurlansky, Mark. The Eastern Stars. New York, NY: Riverhead Books, 2010.

Mark Kurlansky’s book takes the reader into the impoverished land of the Dominican Republic to reveal the cricket games, the sugar cane fields and the ballfields. He focuses on the rich history of the small town San Pedro de Macoris, the so-called town of the shortstops. The book provided a detailed background on baseball in the D.R.

“Major League Ballplayers by Birthplace.” Baseball Almanac. Accessed January 19, 2016.

Baseball Almanac is a database that collects several different statistics, dates, and numbers related to baseball. Taking a step back and seeing baseball history by the numbers reminded me that baseball is a sport that has to be seen through different lenses to be fully grasped. Significantly, I used this website for the stat on the decline of Cuban ballplayers in MLB.

Major League Baseball. “Opening Day Rosters Feature 230 Players Born Outside the US” mlb.com. Last modified April 6, 2015. Accessed January 15, 2016. http://m.mlb.com/news/article/116591920/opening-day-rosters-feature-230-....

This press release from MLB.com reports the stunning number of ballplayers from the Dominican Republic in 2015. I used this press release to show how much impact the D.R. has made on MLB.

Meyer, Carrie A., and Seth Kuhn. “Effects of Major League Baseball on Economic Development in the Dominican Republic.” Last modified 2008. Accessed May 10, 2016. http://mason.gmu.edu/~cmeyer/Meyer-MLB%26DR.pdf.

My first and only source based on a study came from a college quite local to me. This study of the economic effects of MLB in the Dominican Republic conducted and written by Carrie Meyer and Seth Kuhn found its way into a newspaper feature written in 2014. Meyer’s resource helped me get real numbers on economic development while also teaching me about the complex issue of money’s impact in history.

Pelotero. Directed by Ross Finkel. 2011. N.p.: Strand Releasing, n.d. DVD.

Pelotero is a documentary that presents two Dominican ballplayers, or peloteros, trying to make it to the big leagues. It shows the stress of training, tryouts, and, hopefully, signing. This documentary conflicted with other sources in its view of the treatment of players by buscones. Pelotero helped me understand the ins and outs of trying to make it in the Dominican Republic.

Ruck, Rob. “Baseball’s Recruitment Abuses.” Americas Quarterly, Summer 2011 edition. Accessed May 11, 2016. http://americasquarterly.org/node/2745.

This article gives an in-depth examination of the road to the academy. Rob Ruck provided me with plenty of information on the buscones and PEDs. Ruck exposes the buscones treatment of the Dominican players and shares his overview of MLB’s attempt to solve the buscone problem by sending one of their executives, Sandy Alderson, to try regulate the trainers of boys below the age of 16. Unfortunately, this attempt failed due to the lack of cooperation of the trainers.

———E-mail interview by the author. January 6, 2016.

My  email correspondence with longtime expert Rob Ruck was extremely helpful. Ruck has written many books on Dominican baseball from a historian’s scholarly perspective.  Not only did he tell me the facts, but he also described his opinions on education and the economic crisis. 

———“The Rise of the Academies.” In Raceball: How the Major Leagues Colonized the Black and Latin Game. N.p.: Beacon, 2011.

Ruck’s book, Raceball, is about Latinos and African-Americans integration into Major League Baseball. I used the final chapter of this book, “The Rise of the Academies,” for my research. This source helped me throughout my paper with information regarding the start of the early academies, how the people reacted, how it changed the D.R., and what side effects the academies have had on the Dominican people.

Spagnuolo, Diana. “Swinging for the Fence: A Call for Institutional Reform as Dominican Boys Risk Their Futures for a Chance in Major League Baseball.” University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Economic Law 24, no. 1 (2003): 263-87. Accessed February 1, 2016. http://scholarship.law.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1252&contex....

Spagnuolo’s article from the University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Economic Law discusess the challenges and, for most boys, the consequences of trying to follow in David Ortiz’s footsteps. Swinging for the Fence describes the benefits and the costs of MLB’s operation in the D.R. and calls for MLB to reform the education in the academies. I found this very informative article via Children Left Behind by Adam G. Wasch.

Thorn, John. “Pride and Passion: Baseball in the Dominican Republic.” mlb.com\DR. Last modified 2015. Accessed February 15, 2016. http://mlb.mlb.com/dr/pride_passion_dr.jsp.

John Thorn’s article provides the reader with a summary of the rich history of Dominican baseball from games in the sugar fields to games on well-kept academy turf. In particular, the article used firsthand accounts describing the Dominicans’ love for the game. This source was used in my paper as background to illustrate the rise of baseball throughout the Dominican Republic.

Wasch, Adam G. “Children Left Behind: The Effect of Major League Baseball on Education in the Dominican Republic.” Social Science Research Network. Last modified 2009. Accessed October 15, 2015. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1571479.

This paper on the education crisis in the D.R argues that MLB is practically abusing the Dominican boys by luring them out of school. Mr. Wasch’s article helped my project immensely with a lawyer’s view on the topics of the buscones, education, and thriving academies. I found this paper early in my research and it allowed me to see the side of the argument that MLB should fix the education problem.

 

Notes

1 Klein, Alan. e-mail interview by the author. January 4, 2016.

2 Ibid.

3 Rob Ruck, "The Rise of the Academies," in Raceball: How the Major Leagues Colonized the Black and Latin Game (n.p.: Beacon, 2011), Google Books

4 Klein, e-mail interview by the author.

5 Ibid.

6 John Thorn, "Pride and Passion: Baseball in the Dominican Republic," mlb.com\DR, last modified 2015, accessed February 15, 2016, http://mlb.mlb.com/dr/pride_passion_dr.jsp.

7 Ibid.

8 "Major League Ballplayers by Birthplace," Baseball Almanac, accessed January 19, 2016.

9 Klein, e-mail interview by the author.

10 "Major League Ballplayers by Birthplace," Baseball Almanac.

11 Alicia Jessop, "The Secrets behind the Dominican Republic's Success in the World Baseball Classic and MLB," Forbes, March 19, 2014, accessed May 14, 2016, http://www.forbes.com/sites/aliciajessop/2013/03/19/the-secrets-behind-t....

12 Diana Spagnuolo, "Swinging for the Fence: A Call for Institutional Reform as Dominican Boys Risk Their Futures for a Chance in Major League Baseball," University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Economic Law 24, no. 1 (2003): 271], accessed February 1, 2016, http://scholarship.law.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1252&contex....

13 Ruck, "The Rise of the Academies," in Raceball: How the Major, Google Books.

14 Spagnuolo, "Swinging for the Fence," 271.

15 Opening Day Rosters Feature 230 Players Born Outside the US, mlb.com, last modified April 6, 2015, accessed January 15, 2016, http://m.mlb.com/news/article/116591920/opening-day-rosters-feature-230-....

16 Spagnuolo, "Swinging for the Fence," 269.

17 Ibid.

18 Steve Wulf, "Standing Tall at Short," Sports Illustrated, February 9, 1987, 132, accessed January 18, 2016, http://www.si.com/vault/issue/702375/152/2.

19 Jay Jaffe, "Epy Guerrero, scout who helped open Dominican pipeline to majors, dies at 71," Sports Illustrated, last modified May 24, 2013, accessed January 20, 2016, http://www.si.com/mlb/strike-zone/2013/05/24/epy-guerrero-scout-who-help....

20 Fred Guerrero, telephone interview by the author, January 28, 2016.

21 Ibid.

22 Klein, e-mail interview by the author.

23 "The Education Crisis Crippling Dominican Baseball Players," video file, YouTube, posted by VICE Sports, June 18, 2015, accessed September 30, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bVsbi79rUM.

24 Ibid.

25 Ruck, "The Rise of the Academies," in Raceball: How the Major, Google Books.

26 Spagnuolo, "Swinging for the Fence," 273.

27 Rob Ruck, e-mail interview by the author, January 6, 2016.

28 Ibid.

29 Adam G. Wasch, "Children Left Behind: The Effect of Major League Baseball on Education in the Dominican Republic," Social Science Research Network, last modified 2009, accessed October 15, 2015, http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1571479.

30 Steve Knopper, "The Lure of Baseball in the Dominican Republic," The New York Times, October 29, 2015, Travel, accessed February 7, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/01/travel/dominican-republic-baseball.htm....

31 Fred Guerrero, e-mail interview by the author, January 27, 2016.

32 Rob Ruck, "Baseball's Recruitment Abuses," Americas Quarterly, last modified Summer 2011, accessed December 9, 2015, http://americasquarterly.org/node/2745.

33 Ibid.

34 Palash Ghosh, "Huge Salaries and a Poverty-Stricken Country: The Economics of Baseball in the Dominican Republic," International Business Times, January 24, 2014,, accessed May 11, 2016, http://www.ibtimes.com/huge-salaries-poverty-stricken-country-economics-....

35 Wasch, "Children Left Behind: The Effect," Social Science Research Network.

36 "The Education Crisis Crippling," video file.

37 Wasch, "Children Left Behind: The Effect," Social Science Research Network.

38 Ibid.

39 Spagnuolo, "Swinging for the Fence," 273.

40 Ibid.

41"The Education," video file.

42 Klein, e-mail interview by the author.

43 Ibid.

44 Carrie A. Meyer and Seth Kuhn, "Effects of Major League Baseball on Economic Development in the Dominican Republic,". Last modified 2008, accessed May 10, 2016, http://mason.gmu.edu/~cmeyer/Meyer-MLB%26DR.pdf.

45 Ibid.

46 Ibid.

47 Spagnuolo, "Swinging for the Fence," 274.

48 Pedro Martinez and Michael Silverman, Pedro (n.p.: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015), 10.