The sun and sounds of Santo Domingo’s Las Américas International Airport greeted our players from Marin County as they arrived to the Dominican Republic yesterday on the afternoon of June 19, 2018. The enthusiasm, excitement and anticipation was palpable as high-fives and hugs broke out in the airport upon reuniting their Dominican coaches and friends.
Loaded with Donations
After the traditional Dominican greetings were made, our Marin County players headed to “La Gaugau” (Dominican Republic Spanish for “bus”) where it was evident that the team from Marin County was here to make a difference based simply on the immense amount of duffel bags they brought loaded with donations of clothing, shoes and baseball equipment! The boys from Marin brought so many bags that the baggage area underneath “La Gaugau” became overflowed causing the bus driver to stack suitcases on empty seats inside of the bus.
Trek to Paradise
After a short 20 minute bus ride through Santo Domingo and Boca Chica, the boys arrived at their home for the week: Casa Del Lago! Upon arriving it was clear that the team had two things on their mind: food and the pool! After an hour of R&R, the festivities began!
Opening Night Ceremony
One of the most memorable moments of the Global Baseball Adventures experience is the opening night hat & jersey ceremony where players get to hear from their MLB coach, meet their Dominican exchange student for the week and receive their commemorative hat and jersey that they were proudly across the island.
During the opening night dinner ceremony, Pedro Liriano (former MLB pitcher and Global Baseball Adventures coach) gave a moving speech thanking all of the players for traveling to the Dominican Republic to make a difference in the lives of his fellow countrymen. Coach Pedro went on to share that the donations brought on this trip will make a huge impact on his hometown of La Piedra where 100% of the families live beneath the international poverty line. It was then that Coach Pedro made the stunning announcement that the donations brought on this trip, coupled with the food and school supplies purchased with donations from the Go Fund Me page created by Isaias Franco, led to over 1,000 lbs of food, clothing, shoes, school supplies and baseball equipment being collected for dispersement this week.
Making a Difference
After Coach Pedro finished sharing his gratitude with the boys from Marin, smiles ear to ear could be seen in the room as each player individually came to the front of the room to receive their Global Baseball Adventures hat and jersey from Coach Pedro. Clapping and cheering echoed throughout the dinning room as players walked up to receive their items from Coach Pedro but the loudest ovation came when Adrian Robles’ name was announced. Adrian was hand picked by Coach Pedro to be this years Global Baseball Adventures exchange student based on his merits on the ball field and in the classroom. Adrian is a resident of La Piedra, Dominican Republic where opportunities to travel across the country and create relationships with American teens is unheard of. The smiles, cheers and applause for Adrian was a testament to the positivity that the boys from Marin are beginning to the Dominican Republic.
With jerseys and hats in hand, players and coaches headed back to Casa Del Lago to prepare donation boxes for the families they’ll meet across the island. True teamwork was displayed as coaches and players worked together to fill boxes with food, clothes, shoes and school supplies. When all was said and done, a stack of boxes over six feet tall filled the conference room at Casa Del Lago.
Let the Games Begin
After a long flight, fun in the sun and an action packed evening, players and coaches headed to bed early to prepare for their first game of the week!