Winter baseball in the Dominican Republic began on Sunday, November 15; the regular season will run through December 10. The post-season will be comprised of three rounds beginning with a 3-game series December 21-23, followed by a semi-final series from December 26 to January 4. The best of seven championship series would end on January 15 if it extends to all seven games.
La Liga de Béisbol Profesional de la República Dominicana (LIDOM) consists of six teams:
Gigantes del Cibao
Leones del Escogido
Tigres del Licey
Toros del Este
The cool thing about the LIDOM teams is that there are a lot of current and former Major Leaguers (and Minor Leaguers) on the teams, including: Victor Robles, Wilmer Difo, and Wellington Castillo on the Aguilas Cibaeñas; Wander Franco and Tres Barrera on the Escogido team; Miguel Andujar on Estrellas Orientales; and Sandy Leon on Tigres del Licey.
The league’s website doesn’t seem to always work. Fortunately, they post a LOT of stuff on Twitter, including the 2020-21 schedule, their rosters, and daily lineups. You can also see the day-to-day schedule, scores, and Game Day for each team on the MLB website for the Winter Leagues.
You may have overlooked the beginning of the Liga Mexicana del Pacifico (LMP), or Mexican Pacific League, season, which began a month ago when the United States was focused on other things. Unfortunately, the league recently had to pause for 11 days due to COVID-19 outbreaks on several teams. They are scheduled to resume their season today, but will not make up the cancelled games.
As of November 6, when the games were suspended, los Yaquis de Obregon were in first place with a record of 17-3:
Yaquis de Obregon
Naranjeros de Hermosillo
Sultanes de Monterrey
Tomateros de Culiacan
Charros de Jalisco
Aguilas de Mexicali
Caneros de Los Mochis
Algodoneros de Guasave
Venados de Mazatlan
Mayos de Navojoa
One of my two favorite LMP players, Dariel Alvarez of los Charros de Jalisco, was leading his team in batting, with a batting average of .357. His teammate and my other favorite LMP player, Henry Urrutia, had the second highest batting average on the team at .329. Last year, Alvarez lead the league in home runs (16), RBI (56), and slugging (.527) and was named Jugador Mas Valioso (Most Valuable Player).
The LMP 2020-21 schedule runs through December 30. The playoffs begin in early January with eight teams, culminating in the winner representing Mexico in the Caribbean Series. For more info on the LMP, check out these links:
Moses Fleetwood “Fleet” Walker was born on this date in 1856 in Mount Pleasant, Ohio. Walker was the first African American to play Major League Baseball, when he made his debut as a catcher with the Toledo Blue Stockings of the American Association in 1884. Fleet’s brother Weldy Walker (also referred to as Welday) debuted with the Blue Stockings on July 15, 1884, becoming the second African American in MLB.
Both brothers went to high school in Steubenville, Ohio, and attended Oberlin College. Fleet was then recruited to play for the University of Michigan, where Weldy soon joined him.
Fleet was signed by Toledo in 1883, when the team was a Minor League team in the Northwestern League. Both the team and Walker faced resistance from the league and other teams within it: prior to Fleet’s first game with the club, the league discussed a motion to prohibit Black players from playing in the league. Fortunately, the motion was dropped. However, in August that year, Cap Anson, manager of the Chicago White Stockings threatened to not play Toledo if Walker were in the lineup. Threatened with the loss of gate receipts, Anson gave in and agreed to play.
In 1884, the Blue Stockings joined the American Association, one of the Major Leagues at the time. Walker made his Major League debut with the club on May 1, 1884. Pressure from rival owners, injuries, and his age (27 at the time), resulted in both Fleet and Weldy being released from the team at the end of the season.
Fleet spent the rest of his career in the minors, playing for the Cleveland Forest Cities of the Western League (1885), the Waterbury team in both the Eastern League and Southern New England League (1885 and 1886), the Newark Little Giants of the International League (1887), and the Syracuse Stars of the International League (1888 and 1889). Fleet caught the eye of John Ward of the New York Giants during an exhibition game; but when Ward wanted to sign him, Cap Anson and others objected. In fact, whenever Fleet’s team played Anson’s teams, Fleet would have to remain on the bench. Weldy continued to play with Fleet in 1885, though signed with the Pittsburgh Keystones in 1887.
Yesterday, MLB celebrated Roberto Clemente Day. And, as I promised then, today I am posting my research (see below) on when Roberto Clemente Day has been celebrated every year since it was first created by MLB in 2002. It took several hours to verify all of the dates; I relied on MLB press releases that were available online, as well as newspaper articles. It really shouldn’t be that hard.
Just looking at the list, there doesn’t seem to be a pattern of when MLB deems it the right day to celebrate Clemente. Sometimes its during Hispanic Heritage Month, sometimes its not. It has been celebrated as early as September 2 (in 2009) and as late as September 22 (2004). Why not on his birthday (August 18) or some other significant date?
I recall from previous years, that when I’ve looked at the MLB schedule prior to the beginning of the season, Roberto Clemente Day was not always listed – as if it was added later as an after thought. Without knowing when Roberto Clemente Day is going to happen, its really hard to properly celebrate it.
Why, MLB, is the date different every year? Maybe they have a really good reason they just haven’t told us about. But we’d really like to know.
Date of Roberto Clemente Day
Sometime in September?? (I couldn’t identify the actual date)
Quick question – did you know it was Roberto Clemente Day? Or – did you know September 9 was going to be Roberto Clemente this year prior to the several articles that started coming out about a week or so ago?
I really wish Major League Baseball would spend a little more time planning, promoting, and celebrating this commemorative day. After all, they made it up, the least they can do it celebrate it properly. Every year, I contemplate writing something in honor of the event, but I am quickly derailed by the fact that I’m not sure when Clemente Day is. I always see articles on the internet stating that Clemente Day is celebrated on [insert whatever date here] every year. This is not true. Once again this year, I found it infuriating this year that several news articles about Roberto Clemente Day started out along the lines of: “MLB established September 9 as Roberto Clemente Day in 2002.” Wrong! MLB established September 9 as Roberto Clemente Day for this year at some point in the recent past. It’s on a different day every year (see tomorrow’s post). No wonder none of us can plan for, remember, or even celebrate the day! Of course, not all teams are at home on a specific day, like September 9. But, like Jackie Robinson Day, this can be overcome.
Even if you go to mlb.com, click on “Schedule” and then click on “Important Dates,” the promised “Full coverage” about Roberto Clemente Day takes you to a lame “Roberto Clemente Day” website – or web page, I should say – which they can’t even be bothered to update (to be fair, their “Jackie Robinson Day” page is only slightly better). There are basically three sections to this page: (1) a news “carousel,” (2) corresponding videos, and (3) an “About Roberto Clemente Day” section on the right-hand side, which includes a link to yet another page where you can go to vote for who you want to win the award this year (not that its clear how your vote is considered in the final determination of who wins). Seriously – that’s it. Hardly anything about the man himself, his impact on baseball, or even past winners of the Roberto Clemente Award.
As of yesterday, there are a grand total of FOUR articles in that news carousel – only one of which is from this year:
The “About Roberto Clemente Day” section says only this: “Roberto Clemente Day was established by Major League Baseball to honor the legacy of the Hall of Famer and 15-time All-Star who died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. In his honor, MLB annually presents the Roberto Clemente Award to recognize the player who best represents the game of Baseball through sportsmanship, community involvement and positive contributions, both on and off the field. Club nominees for this prestigious award are announced on Roberto Clemente Day each year.”
Which roughly translates to: “We (MLB) established Roberto Clemente Day – yay us! Clemente was a good guy, but more about US: we renamed a PRESTIGIOUS award after him and we give it to a player through a really unclear process every year. We announce the nominees every year on Robert Clemente Day – but we can’t tell you when that is because we apparently decide at the last minute. Yay us for being diverse!” Or, you know, something along those lines.
If MLB really wanted to celebrate the legacy of Roberto Clemente and the contributions of its Latino players, they could start by having Roberto Clemente Day on the same day every year. You know, so people could plan for it, write about it, and celebrate it. They could upgrade that website to provide more information on Roberto Clemente and the Roberto Clemente Award. They could even exploit fans, which we know they like to do, by selling us Roberto Clemente stuff and Hispanic Heritage Month stuff (which they also do a really bad job of celebrating). For example, we’d love it if they’d sell those “Ponle Acento” shirts that the players wear! And, if they really wanted to be good guys, they could donate the proceeds from selling us that stuff to organizations that help folks – maybe even that help Latinos in need.
Tomorrow, I’ll continue my rant about the seemingly random dates Roberto Clemente Day has been celebrated. (If anyone knows why it’s always different, please enlighten us.) Next week, I’ll discuss the Roberto Clemente Award.
Until then, Happy Clemente Day! There’s so much more MLB can do with this celebration. Maybe we should demand that they do.
A lot has happened since last week – the trade deadline, continuing memorials for Chadwick Boseman, the death of Tom Seaver, the one-year anniversary of the last game at many Minor League ballparks, more home runs in San Diego, politics, more COVID outbreaks, etc., etc. – but its important to keep up the work begun over the past few weeks related to racial justice, fairness, equality, and safety. Yesterday, I promised more on this subject, but, first, let’s continue to recap last week’s efforts to bring awareness to this subject.
Several players and teams addressed the importance of the issues facing the Black community. Then, MLB celebrated Jackie Robinson Day/Weekend:
Since then, a few teams players have continued to bring awareness to these issues, as well as the importance of voting:
Players across all sports have been criticized for speaking out about racial equality. But if they don’t, who will? Keep up the good work, y’all. Keep up the fight.
"There comes a time where you have to live it, you have to step up. You can't just wear these shirts and think that's all well and good and then when it comes time to act on it, or make stand or make a statement… you can't just not do it." – @ChristianYelichpic.twitter.com/ItMZyj3Muf
What happened to Jacob Blake is not right. You don’t have to be a person of color to see that. It’s wrong. We need change. Love how the NBA and NFL shed light daily onto this matter. They continue to fight for the necessary change that’s needed. Silence is violence
So, this was a hard post to write. For quite some time, I alternated between staring at a blank page and aimlessly scrolling through Instagram and Twitter. It was another week where the term “Best of the Week” just didn’t seem to apply:
The untimely death of Chadwick Boseman, an actor who portrayed superheroes such as Jackie Robinson, Black Panther, and Thurgood Marshall.
Its enough to break you. And yet, we must rise to the occasion, make our voices heard, help those in need, and carry on a legacy of change.
Which is precisely what the sports world – including MLB – did this past week. In response to the shoot of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, first the Milwaukee Bucks of the NBA, then the Milwaukee Brewers, refused to play their games on Wednesday. The idea behind refusing to play was to ensure attention was focused on what mattered, not on sports.
The next day, more teams followed suit with seven more games being postponed: O’s v. Rays, Nats v. Phillies, A’s v. Rangers, Red Sox v. Blue Jays, and Rockies v. D’Backs, Twins v. Tigers, and Marlins v. Mets. In fact, the Miami Marlins and the New York Mets made a powerful statement by holding a 42-second moment of silence then walking off the field, as both a tribute to Jackie Robinson and a protest over the shooting of Jacob Blake. Upon leaving the field, they left a “Black Lives Matter” shirt at home plate.
Throughout the week, players from across the league shared stories and made statements in support of racial justice and equality. And then, it was Jackie Robinson Day. Over the next few days, I’ll focus on some of the statements made by players and teams during this tumultuous week.
Lately there’s been a lot going on in the field of sports announcing – some good, some bad. Last year, I wrote about women baseball announcers, but even that information is woefully out of date. Earlier this month, Melanie Newman became the Baltimore Orioles’ first female play-by-play announcer. Nonetheless, progress has been slow since Suzyn Waldman became the first full-time baseball commentator in 2005. And don’t get me started on the fact that most women seem to be relegated to sideline or on-field reporting and rarely get promoted to the broadcast booth or other, more prominent roles.