Baseball’s Caribbean Series starts today and runs through February 7. The games will be played in the Dominican Republic and televised on ESPN Deportes. Participants in the series are the championship teams from Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic: Tigres de Ciego de Ávila, Tigres de Aragua, Venados de Mazatlán, Cangrejeros de Santurce, and Leones de Escogido, respectively. Members from other teams in each league can be added to that country’s roster. In addition, for the first time the festivities will include a Home Run Derby, which will occur on Wednesday. The derby will feature current MLB players Miguel Cabrera, Robinson Cano, and David Ortiz; Cuban baseball star Alfredo Despaigne; and former major leaguer (and one-time Baltimore Oriole) Vladimir Guerrero. (See my previous post from today for the schedule and rosters.)
The interesting thing, sociologically speaking, is that information on the Caribbean Series seems to be hard to come by. Sure, ESPN and a variety of websites have posted the schedule, but that’s about it. MLB has a web page on the Winter Leagues and the Caribbean Series, but they haven’t updated it for this year’s series. One of the best sources of info comes from Society of American Baseball Research member Monte Cely who is posting updates on the series daily on the SABR website. Without him, I might not have even known baseball was being played in the Dominican Republic this week.
The most frustrating thing to find was team rosters. ESPN appears to have them on their website, but its unclear which year they are from, since the names do not match up to what I was able to find online. I painstakingly cobbled together the rosters from a variety of different sources. Cuba’s roster was the easiest to find, since Baseball America very kindly posted it for us. The Venezuelan League roster also wasn’t too hard to find, after I got to the league’s website. Once I realized that the league websites might have the info I wanted, I found the Puerto Rico roster on the Puerto Rican League’s website, though it wasn’t neatly listed like the other two – I had to pull out the names from an article about the team. The Mexican League’s website is part of the MiLB website, so I found their website rather easily by Googling “Mexican League.” I pieced together their roster, as well, from an article on the website. I never did find an official Caribbean Series roster for the Dominican Republic. What I posted previously was the regular season roster for the Leones de Escogido. The Series roster is likely bolstered by players from other D.R. teams.
Of course after I spent, literally, hours trying to find the rosters, the Series official twitter account, @Serie2016, began tweeting out the rosters on Sunday. But at 140 characters per post, that’s a lot of tweets to have to read.
As the Baseball Sociologist, I want to know why information on the Series is so hard to come by. Is it because American news outlets don’t care or don’t think there are enough people interested in the Caribbean Series? Are there not enough reporters and writers to cover this? Or is it because I am applying my own cultural (i.e., American) values and expectations to something that represents other cultures? Or, perhaps, could the information be there on information outlets such as Twitter, but not in the places I normally look for information, such as the internet?
Whatever the reasons are, I look forward to watching the games all week. Baseball is back!