Spartan Baseball Headed To Dominican Republic

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EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan State baseball will take a foreign trip to the Dominican Republic, departing Saturday, Dec. 15 and returning Thursday, Dec. 20, after finals at MSU.

While in the Dominican Republic, the Spartans will play six games against Dominican Republic teams and will participate in community service. The Spartans will do some painting and house repairs in the village of Boca Chica, where the team will be staying.

The Spartans’ trip will serve three purposes: baseball, education and community service. In addition to playing games, the team will learn about the culture of the Dominican Republic and donate their time through service activities.

“We’re extremely excited to head down to the Dominican Republic,” MSU baseball head coach Jake Boss Jr. said. “This trip will benefit us in a lot of ways, most importantly from a cultural perspective and the experience of a lifetime for our 35 players. It will be something that they’ll never forget, and they’ll have lasting memories. They’ll have the chance to serve down there; they’ll have a chance to play very good baseball. We have several guys that have never been out of the country before and this is a chance through Michigan State baseball for them to see a part of the world that has been extremely important to the game of baseball.”

Along with playing games and community service, the team will take a tour of colonial Santo Domingo, and will also attend a Dominican Winter League game.

“I think initially when we talked about putting this trip together, while there are certainly some benefits on the baseball side of things, with regard to the chance to play, and get out in the warm weather when we can’t at home. The main reason to take the trip was to give our guys the experience of a lifetime, to expose them to a culture that they have never been exposed to before, and see how other people in the world live,” Boss said. “I think a trip like this will certainly be an eye-opener for a lot of people, and yet, it will open our eyes to how blessed we are at Michigan State University because of our athletic department, our donors, our fans and all of the resources and support that we are fortunate enough to have.”

In addition to the community service, the Spartans will also be donating gear to the local teams.

“One of the main focuses of our trip is to go down there and serve, and we’ll have the opportunity to give away a lot of gear. We’ll have an opportunity to paint and repair some houses, and really try to make it a better place, both on the baseball side and the cultural side. Anytime you have an opportunity to serve and anytime you have an opportunity to make someone’s day or help somebody out, I think you need to take advantage of it and we’re certainly going to try to do our part,” Boss said.

NCAA regulations allow teams to make foreign trips once every four years, and this is MSU’s first trip to the Dominican Republic. The Spartans’ roster for the 2019 season features eight starters returning from last season, including Freshman All-Big Ten honorees Mason Erla and Zach Iverson.

WEATHER
Weather forecasts for Boca Chica call for nearly identical temperatures all five days of the Spartans’ trip: mostly sunny with highs of 86-87° and lows of 67-68° at night.

ABOUT THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
The Dominican Republic is a country located in the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean region. It occupies the eastern five-eighths of the island, which it shares with the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands, along with Saint Martin, that are shared by two sovereign states. The Dominican Republic is the second-largest Caribbean nation by area (after Cuba) at 48,671 square kilometers (18,792 sq mi), and third by population with approximately 10 million people, of which approximately three million live in the metropolitan area of Santo Domingo, the capital city.

BASEBALL IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
After the United States, the Dominican Republic has the second highest number of Major League Baseball (MLB) players. Ozzie Virgil, Sr. became the first Dominican-born player in the MLB on September 23, 1956. Juan Marichal and Pedro Martínez are the only Dominican-born players in the Baseball Hall of Fame. In 2013, the Dominican team went undefeated en route to winning the World Baseball Classic.

Other notable baseball players born in the Dominican Republic are:
Adrián Beltré
Robinson Canó
Starling Marte
Vladimir Guerrero
Francisco Liriano
José Bautista
Edwin Encarnación
Hanley Ramírez
David Ortiz
Albert Pujols
Nelson Cruz
Ubaldo Jiménez
José Reyes
Plácido Polanco

FOLLOW
Updates from the trip will be shared on @statebaseball on Twitter, as well as Michigan State Baseball and Dominican Baseball Camp on Facebook. Recaps of each days’ games and events will be posted on MSUSpartans.com.