Get Your Baseball Fix Before Spring Training
Can’t get enough baseball even during the winter?
Head to the Dominican Republic or Curacao.
The Dominican League plays from November to January. You might see some current Major Leaguers honing their skills while scouting some future greats – especially some slick-fielding shortstops.
There are a number of trips and tours in the DR available here.
You may also consider Curacao.
Although there are no pro leagues playing there, you might see some of the future players showing off their talent.
Curacao is not the Dominican Republic when it comes to home-grown Major League Baseball Players. But this tiny island nation with Dutch roots has the most Major Leaguers per capita than any other country.
We went scouting in Curacao during our recent stay there.
We spoke to the legendary coach Frank Curiel, who, some say, is one of the big reasons for the Curacao caravan to the bigs.
Frank was a delightful man. He took time out to meet with us on New Year’s Day.
The "gravel factor" makes so much sense. When you visit Curacao you understand why the gravel is so rocky because the climate, even though in the Caribbean, has a desert-like climate most of the year so the soil is not arable or suitable for crops.
For anyone who has played amateur baseball, you understand how this bumpy soil leads to strange, quirky bounces that could lead to a fielding error, a chipped tooth, or a manly ballplayer talking soprano.
But that bumpy surface can help a great hand-eye talent develop. And look at many of the Major Leaguers that come from Curacao. Most of them are great infielders. Take Jonathan Schoop who is one of Frank’s proteges.
Another slick fielder from Curacao is Andrelton Simmons, now with the Los Angeles Angels.
How about Didi Gregorious, now the Yankee shortstop filling the shoes quite nicely of Derek Jeter.
There are other great players from Curacao such as the Dodgers Closer Kenley Jansen, Rangers Second Baseman Jurickson Profar, and now retired Braves Outfielder Andruw Jones, now being considered for the Hall of Fame.
If you’re heading to Curacao, there’s plenty to do even if you’re on a cruise. We have some great hotel deals for you at Jetsetter Deals.
While you’re finding those deals, check out this sip of Curacao we produced about what you can do if you only have a day in Willemstad, Curacao’s capital.