The Red Sox have a facility in the Dominican Republic? How long have I been living under a rock? Why did I just learn about this?
The Red Sox academy in Santo Domingo, DR opened in 2003 to attract prospective players. The academy teaches prospective ball players English and how to acclimate to culture in the United States, while training them to be skilled players. There are fields, batting cages, a dormitory that accommodates 65 players, and a full fleet of professionals on hand to train.
The team plays as part of the Dominican Summer League against other MLB affiliated teams. All of the teams are filled with prospects from Latin American countries where baseball is king.
In 2003 the ballclub reportedly devoted $6 million to this facility, and its interest in Latin American players.
In 2004, thanks to a large donation, the Red Sox foundation launched the Lindos Suenos program, which pairs 10 high school age students from the United States with 10 Dominican Republic kids. They spend a week of mornings rebuilding homes and improving various communities in and around the Red Sox’s Dominican Academy. The afternoons are spent playing baseball in full Red Sox regalia with the talented professionals at the Dominican Academy.
I love this combination of my two favorite things community service and baseball. I know this franchise gives back in many ways, but this program I found to be particularly touching. To learn more about the program go to http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/bos/community/lindos_suenos.jsp