Trying to Figure Out the Caribbean Series (Without Resorting to Racist Undertones)

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Derek Jacques is one of the few baseball writers I follow with any level of fervor and he's currently luxuriating in the warm weather of the Dominican Republic. I know this because I read Derek's personal blog; otherwise, I'd have missed his pieces at Baseball Prospectus. In a moment of cost-saving and penny-pinching delusion this past October, I canceled my subscription to Baseball Prospectus. "Who needs to read about baseball in the offseason? Nothing happens anyway." I was fucking wrong. Derek is in the second largest city in the Dominican taking in the 2008 Caribbean Series.

If my ability to infer information from skimming Wikipedia articles is well-honed, the Caribbean Series is made up of the best teams from the four major winter leagues, one from the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico. This year, Puerto Rico didn't send a team because it didn't hold their winter league for the first time in almost 70 years:

But the league's larger problem might be talent drain. Moreso than the other Caribbean winter leagues, the LBPPR had trouble getting Puerto Rico's established major leaguers to do even the minimum "two weeks and then the playoffs" winter league schedule.
So the Puerto Rican players are too laz....oh right, no racist undertones. Derek also points to the Jose Valentin hand-breaking incident from last summer as evidence that the Puerto Rican winter league was in dire straits; turns out Valentin bruised his hand during an altercation while trying to sell the team he owns in Manati, Puerto Rico. Business dealing in the PR is muy loco!

So instead, the Dominicans get to field two teams: Tigres del Licey (translation: Tigers with Lice) and Águilas Cibaeñas (translation: uhhh...Águilas Cibaeñas). Allegedly, they are like the Red Sox and Yankees of República Dominicana, which means that ESPN Deportes devotes veintitrés horas to covering them per day. Who's playing in this thing anyway? Here are some of the craziest names that you might recognize on the two rosters:

  • Luis Polonia - sex with minor
  • Jose Offerman - bat attack
  • Julian Tavarez - wacky pal of Manny
  • Miguel Tejada - alleged perjurer

And that's just Águilas Cibaeñas! Mierda! I'd love to watch these games on TV to see if Jose Offerman goes...ahem...batshit crazy again, or to see if Jose Valentin shows up and punches another wall. Hey, I guess Cablevision did something right!

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