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Calloni’s Corner: Are Dominican Player Mistreated?

Josh Calloni, Reporter

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Every July, players all over Latin America are posted into International free agency to be signed by major league clubs. Their ages, ranging anywhere from 16 to 19, are still very young. With that, a claim could be made that team mistreat these players.

These players, mostly from the Dominican, are very special baseball talents, and some of the best players have come from the international free agent pool. That includes Juan Soto, Ronald Acuna Jr, Ivan Rodriguez and many more.

However, especially for the current players, once they get to America, they are not treated the best, which can be shown by certain training facilities they have, as well as clubhouses. They come to a new country very young, sometimes as young as 16. Once here, they do not speak English, and minor league contract money is not the best, so they do not have the most money to spend on things they need.

Most organizations see these players as strictly baseball players, and not as general human beings in some cases. They are left to fend for themselves in the lowest level of the minors on little money speaking a different language. It also does not help that the lowest levels of minor league baseballs do not usually take place in large cities where there is a diverse culture, but in smaller, more rural towns, such as ours. For example, if a player is signed by the San Diego Padres, they report to Great Falls, Montana, a city where the diversity of Latin people is very small, only making up 4.3 percent of the 55,000 that live there, according to city-data.com

However, the teams have a lot to balance, having anywhere from 200 to 250 players in their organization amongst eight different minor league levels. Players that are drafted instead of signed face some of the same issues, going to small rural cities all over the country, living in small apartments, and living off a base salary of roughly two thousand a month, without removing tax, bills, and cost of living. The travel is not exactly major league level either, with almost all minor league teams taking a bus from city to city, which can add up to a lengthy trip, For example, when the Memphis Redbirds play the Tacoma Rainiers, a bus trip can take up to  34 hours.

Though, these players that are drafted almost always have an education, and speak the main language of our country. They are not like the international free agents, who are signed in the middle of their high school careers, and are brought to a whole new place without any way to communicate with others, and living on a very bad salary.

While it could be difficult to have done, the MLB should definitely look into the conditions these young players have to deal with right off the bat into their new lives as baseball players, and for all minor leaguers in general for that matter.

About the Writer
Josh Calloni, Reporter

My name is Josh Calloni, and I am a junior here at Timberland. I like to write, and I want to be a sports journalist. I strive to write like Ken Rosenthal....

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Calloni’s Corner: Are Dominican Player Mistreated?