Pedro Martinez. Sammy Sosa. Manny Ramirez By 2000, Dominican baseball players were in every Major League clubhouse, and regularly winning every baseball award. In 2002, Omar Minaya became the first Dominican general manager of a Major League team. But how did this codependent relationship between MLB and Dominican talent arise and thrive?
In his incisive and engaging book, Dominican Baseball, Alan Klein examines the history of MLB's presence and influence in the Dominican Republic, the development of the booming industry and academies, and the dependence on Dominican player developers, known as buscones. He also addresses issues of identity fraud and the use of performance-enhancing drugs as hopefuls seek to play professionally.
Dominican Baseball charts the trajectory of the economic flows of this transnational exchange, and the pride Dominicans feel in their growing influence in the sport. Klein also uncovers the prejudice that prompts MLB to diminish Dominican claims on legitimacy. This sharp, smartly argued book deftly chronicles the uneasy and often contested relations of the contemporary Dominican game and industry.
©2014 Temple University (P)2014 Redwood Audiobooks
"Author has major anti-MLB bias to the point of accepting unacceptable behavior to support his thesis"
Clearly, MLB has not been the best actor in dealing with Latin baseball throughout history and needs to own responsibility for that. They also need to embrace Dominican culture and understand the difference between player development in both countries. The author deserves credit for telling stories that recount this and for bringing it to light. He lost me, though, when he went so far as to justify cheating (steroids and age falsifying) as things that one has to understand through cultural norms. Not saying that I don't understand how these things happen, but the author went too far in justifying and placating that type of behavior. His passion to protect Dominican culture and baseball is to be commended, but ultimately seemed like a biased apologist which takes away from the valid and strong points he otherwise makes.
I had to end the book a few pages short because the "preachiness" became too strong, but I still did get valuable information and perspective that results in an overall 3 stars.
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