Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dominican Winter Baseball League is one of tops in world, Historia de LIDOM

The Dominican Baseball Guy is in the Dominican Republic to follow the 2009-2010 Dominican Winter Baseball League. Covering Dominican baseball is overwhelming.

There are pickup games, youth teams and leagues everywhere, training academies run by Dominicans, the majority of Major League clubs have Dominican baseball academies here, there is the Dominican Summer League (a rookie league run by Major League clubs), there are all the Dominicans in the big leagues, Dominican prospects and minor leaguers, and there is the Dominican Winter Baseball League aka LIDOM.

The Dominican Baseball Guy is the Gigantes del Cibao throughout this season in the Dominican Republic Winter Baseball League. The history of the Dominican Winter Baseball League is a long and storied one.

The LIDOM is one of the better baseball leagues in the world, probably only surpassed by Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Nippon Professional Baseball League in Japan (NPB). The other top winter baseball leagues are the Mexican Pacific League, the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League, and the Puerto Rican Professional Baseball League. The champions of these four leagues face off in the Caribbean World Series each year.

The consensus seems to be that the Dominican League is the best of these four, and only surpassed by MLB and NPB.. The Dominican Baseball Guy bases this assumption on a number of assertions. First, Dominican teams have won eleven of the previous twenty Caribbean Series, and the most overall at seventeen. This is kind of arbitrary given that the Caribbean Series is only six games for each team, but nonetheless, it is a very high number.

Second, each of these four leagues places limits on the number of imported players each team can have, so the teams are made up almost exclusively of players from these countries. A statistical analysis of minor league and major league players and their place of birth could be a major undertaking, but it has been obvious throughout the history of the game, and especially in the last twenty years, that more players have come out of the Dominican Republic than any country besides the USA. This being the case, the Dominican Winter League has a larger pool of players to draw from than the leagues in Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela.

Lastly, The Dominican Baseball Guy argues that the history of the Dominican Winter Baseball League is more prestigious than the other three leagues. This league has been around in some form since the 1920s and in its current form as the LIDOM since 1951. While the other three leagues associated with the Caribbean Series have also been around since the 1940s, the quality and depth of players in the Dominican Winter Baseball League has been far superior. Virtually every Dominican major leaguer played in this league at some point, including Miguel Tejada, David Ortiz, Pedro Martinez, Albert Pujols, even Alex Rodriguez.

There are summer and winter leagues in several other countries, but they are undoubtedly looking up at the leagues mentioned here.

The Gigantes are one team in this very good baseball league, and they are in the city of San Fransisco de Macoris. The other teams are los Leones de Escogido in Santo Domingo, los Tigres del Licey in Santo Domingo, los Aguilas in Santiago, the Bulls of La Romana, and the Eastern Stars of San Pedro de Macoris.

LIDOM, history of the Dominican Winter Baseball League
The LIDOM logo

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