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Dominican Baseball Dreams

"The Eastern Stars" by Mark Kurlansky

Bestselling author Mark Kurlansky has written wide-ranging books revolving around seemingly small subjects like cod, oysters, and salt. 

In his newest, “The Eastern Stars,” he turns to a small Dominican town, and its outsized influence on the world of baseball. 

San Pedro de Macoris has produced sugar for the world for hundreds of years. It’s also brought us Robinson Cano, Sammy Sosa, Alfonso Soriano, and a full  roster of other Major Leaguers.

What is it about this sugar-town that breeds baseball greatness?  

This Hour, On Point: San Pedro, the Dominican Republic, and the history behind the baseball.

Guest:

Mark Kurlansky, bestselling author of “Cod,” and “Salt.” His new book is “The Eastern Stars: How Baseball Changed the Dominican Town of San Pedro de Macoris.”

Read an excerpt from “The Eastern Stars.”

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  • Tyler

    I lived in the San Pedro de Macorís for about six months.

    One of my favorite memories of the place was seeing little kids playing baseball with whatever tools they could find. They used a dirty doll head for the ball, a stick for the bat and cardboard pieces for the mitts.

    I also enjoyed playing bitilla from time to time. Bitilla is like baseball, but played with the plastic tops of five gallon water jugs. The pitcher throws them more or less like a Frisbee, and the batter attempts to hit them with a skinny broom stick. It’s worth looking up on YouTube if you want to see Dominicans playing it.

  • janice rogovin

    Thank you for describing the economically disadvantaged living conditions of San Pedro, Dominican Republic, known for being the homeland of many famous American baseball players; and the tremendous opportunity to pull themselves out of poverty that baseball offers.

    Perhaps this will help fans think of the “big picture”, rather than just whether or not the Red Sox are in a slump. In my opinion, to “boo” David Ortiz because he strikes out is a pathetic response by generally frustrated fans.

    Personally, I congratulate David Ortiz for his success in fulfilling a personal dream; and his fortune in becoming a legend in the lore of the 2004 baseball season.

    Shame of Boston fans!

    Finally, whether or not he took steroids makes no difference. In my opinion, any Red Sox player who took steroids after the year 2000 was just being realistic. At that point, how many Yankee, or other highly successful players, were taking steroids and earning bundles of money? Fools these players are not.

  • luigi

    Oh good . . . another book review guest. Can we get more creative for your temporary stint, Jane?

  • Lanay

    Do girls get to play? And if so at what level?

  • http://www.dailyping.net/ Rick

    [...] Dominican Baseball Dreams | WBUR &#1072&#1495&#1281 NPR – O&#1495 Point w&#1110t&#1211 Tom Ash… [...]

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