SANTIAGO, D.R.–Miguel Tejada blasted two home runs as Aguilas routed Mexico 13-6 in the late game Saturday night. [...] Continue Reading »
Representing Mexico at the Series is Obregon, and here is their roster:
Alberto Castillo, Walter Silva, Justin Lehr, Dan Serafini, Andres Ivan Meza, Adrian Ramirez, Julio Cesar Jimenez, Rafael Cruz, Esteban Hernandez, Rolando Valdez, Hugo Castellanos, Isauro Pineda, Francisco ROdriguez, Nelson Figueroa.
Iker Franco, Said Gutierrez.
Carlos Valencia, ALfredo Amezaga, Oscar Robles, Agustin Murillo, Roberto Saucedo, Carlos Rivera.
Albino Contreras, Jorge Padilla, Reggie Taylor, Armando Rios.
Sorry for the delay. Here is the Aguilas roster for the Series. After last night (and actually before I even got on a plane to come here), I would be shocked if they didn’t run the table here at EL Stadio Cibao, their home park. And as you can see, Aguilas is stacked–even more than they were last year when they won it all in Puerto Rico:
Alfredo Simon, Derek Lee, Fabio Castro, Joselo Diaz, Bartolo Colon, Julian Tavarez, Arnaldo Munoz, Randy Choate, Santiago Ramirez, Leonel Nunez, Denny Bautista, Francisco Cruceta, Joel Peralta, Dario Veras.
Alberto Castillo, Brayan Pena.
Mendy Lopez, Edwin Encarnacion, Miguel Tejada, Tony Pena Jr., Hector Luna, Tony Batista, Rafael Furcal.
Luis Polonia, Alexis Gomez, Victor Diaz, Freddy Guzman, Bernie Castro.
SANTIAGO, D.R.–Licey outfielder (and Diamondbacks utilityman) Emilio Bonifacio has been setting the tone for the offense all winter while learning how to play the outfield–something scouts–and manager Hector De La Cruz wholeheartedly agree on.
"He could play second, he could play short, he could play left and he could play center," De La Cruz said. "He’s what makes us go." [...] Continue Reading »
SANTIAGO, D.R.–Ronnie Belliard drove in four runs and Carlos Marmol finished things off for Licey, downing Venezuela, 6-4 in the Caribbean Series opener Saturday night.
Leading 5-1 in the fifth, Aragua rallied for three runs against Carlos Perez, but the Licey bullpen, anchored by the Cubs’ reliever, proved to be the difference. [...] Continue Reading »
SANTIAGO, D.R.—After driving in two runs with a homer in the third inning, Licey second baseman Ronnie Belliard added a couple more to his RBI total with a two-run single to right in the fourth.
Jose Santiago is out for Venezuela after allowing five runs in five innings on eight hits, and Yohan Pino is now all the rage.
Jose Capellan is also out for Licey, as Carlos Perez and his heavy silver bling is now on the mound.
After five innings, it’s 5-1 Licey.
Just FYI—Presidente beer is THE beer here in the D.R. and a huge sponsor of the Series. A guy was just passing out free Presidentes in the press box, and apparently there is a bar in the working press room behind where we’re sitting, with all the free Presidente and rum you can muster.
While I’m obviously declining, I think I like this place.
SANTIAGO, D.R.–It certainly brought back memories to the Carolina League in 2004 watching Licey (and Rockies) righthander Jose Capellan battle with command issues, get angry with himself and circle the mound a bunch, work himself into a bases-loaded one-out jam . . . and then work out of it with two straight strikeouts.
Licey put the first two runs of the Series on the board in the top of the third, as Ronnie Belliard drilled a fastball from Aragua righthander Jose Santiago over the 365-foot marker in left. Always one for a good show, Belliard knew it as soon as he hit it, and literally walked 12 steps before going into his celebration trot around the bases.
Aragua scored its first run in the bottom half, as Luis Maza doubled and Alberto Callaspo–who has been on fire since the Venezuelan League semifinals–drove him in with an RBI single.
After three innings: 2-1 Licey.
Here is the roster for Licey, one of two clubs representing the Dominican Republic. The D.R. have two teams in this year’s Series due to a one-year postponement by the Puerto Rican Winter League. [...] Continue Reading »
OK, finally . . . having laptop difficulties. Should have listened to The Machine, aka Greg Levine, aka our IT guy, and brought that backup laptop.
So here is the Aragua roster for this year’s Caribbean Series. Aragua is representing Venezuela, and is managed by Triple-A Iowa manager Buddy Bailey. [...] Continue Reading »
SAN PEDRO de MACORIS, D.R.–The silver SUV slowly crawls along the dirt road past the side streets in this hallowed place of baseball’s one-time biggest hotbed—the tiny town of San Pedro de Macoris.
San Pedro, as it’s commonly known in the Dominican Republic, gave birth to the careers of Sammy Sosa and George Bell, Mariano Duncan and Pedro Guerrero, and seemingly countless others. [...] Continue Reading »
BOCA CHICA, D.R.—Friday morning came quickly.
A little too quickly if you ask me.
After getting to bed somewhere around 1 a.m., I was awakened four hours later by the sound of large trucks slowly shifting gears outside my window combined with the outside noise of car alarms constantly going off, as well as a healthy diet of merengue music blasting from cars.
And that was with all the windows closed and the air conditioner on full blast.
After leaving my place of rest and relaxation, I headed to another hotel where ESPN Deportes was kind enough to include me on a tour of Dominican academies.
Though we weren’t supposed to hit the Yankees’ $3.5 million-dollar complex until later in the afternoon, we actually started out there—after four cups of coffee, a three-hour bus ride and a strong desire to have to pee.
The Yankees academy is absolutely stunning—it’s like someone picked up any complex in Florida or Arizona and plopped it down in the middle of the Dominican jungle. There are four fields designed in a circle with a tower in the middle, and the two-floor building that houses the team’s offices and dorm rooms for the players overlooks the sprawling grounds. [...] Continue Reading »
Santiago, D.R.–So I arrived in the Dominican Republic for the first time ever on Thursday, and I have the following observations to log in advance of the 50th anniversary of the Caribbean Series. (known everywhere else on the planet except the U.S. as ‘Serie del Caribe.")
And "Serie del Caribe" just sounds cooler, doesn’t it? [...] Continue Reading »
We actually only went with a top prospect for the Series, but here are the top 10 things that I loved about being there.
10. Tony Batista not being able to stop his momentum and running all the way into right-center field whenever he ranged to his left at third base.
9. Juan Gonzalez. Do I really need to say any more?
8. Game 1, Day 1: 18-innings. And that was only the first game.
7. Game 2, Day 1: Only 9 innings, but ended just after 3 a.m. Went to bed with the sun already at full blast.
6. Mexican fans. They kind of creep me out a little with the wrestling masks and the time the guy dressed as a red bug with antennae was milking the guy dressed as a cow’s udders on top of the dugout while the guy dressed as a rancher danced and shouted cheers into a bullhorn. You’d never see that in South Bend. [...] Continue Reading »
The United States came in fourth place at the 2007 Caribbean Series . . . in credentialed media personnel (which is such a hugely valuable piece of information).
Puerto Rico (180) was first, Dominicana (54) second, Venezuela (40), U.S. (37), Mexico had 21 and there was one lonely Colombian also.
Jose Lima gave one of the best performances of the Series, in what was the best games of the entire week. And it didn’t even matter that he lost.
After pitching eight brilliant innings, Lima allowed a double and then a walk before being pulled in favor of Arnaldo Munoz, who gave up the game-winning single to Javier Valentin as Puerto Rico salvaged a victory to finish a game behind the Dominican Republic. But the game didn’t really matter, as the Dominican Republic had wrapped up the Caribbean Series title the night before when Puerto Rico lost to Venezuela. [...] Continue Reading »
There is a higher level of security here in Roberto Clemente Walker Stadium than at any other time during the Series, and as of the top of the ninth inning, they are now lined up on both the right and left field lines . . . about 20 on each side.
Still tied, 0-0 heading into the ninth . . . after Lima shut PR down again in the eighth.
You normally hear this about 10 times a night at any game in the States. But I think this was the coolest time I’ve ever heard it . . . right as Juan Gonzalez was digging in to face Jose Lima with runners on first and second and two outs in a scoreless game in the bottom of the sixth.
Lima took him to a 3-2 count before Gonzalez flew out weakly to right to end the inning.
Venezuela first baseman Randall Simon was suspended by the Caribbean Baseball Federation for three years on Wednesday.
He apparently left Aguilas in the Dominican at midseason–even though he was under contract–then signed another deal with Aragua in Venezuela. [...] Continue Reading »
Don’t tell that to the sellout crowd, the bands and dancers circling the concourse, or especially the DirecTV mascot.
Yeah, that’s right–mascot.
Even though the Dominican has already clinched, fans from both teams are out in full force, and after two innings and already a whole lot of dancing in, we’re all tied at 2-2.
With its final chance, Mexico entered the win column with a dramatic, 4-3 win over Venezuela on Wednesday.
With the score tied, 3-3, Heber Gomez led off the bottom of the ninth with a triple, and Gil singled him in to score the winning run a batter later.
And now, it’s Lima Time.
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