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Baseball In The Dominican Republic By Chase Standen, sophomore outfielder, Newtown Square, Pa. today before we left for our game against the Hiroshima Carps, and we were curious as to what they were going to have for us to eat at the buffet. Fortunately, it was pretty basic, and everyone found something they could eat. They had scrambled eggs, sausage, ham, potatoes, plantains, and more; and of course, for the less adventurous, cereal was also an option. After breakfast, we jumped on the bus to head to the Hiroshima Toyo Carps complex, sporting our black Nike jerseys, grey pants, and white hats. The complex was big and had four fields. It was about a half hour drive from the hotel and it was secluded. There was a lot of land in the complex and even houses right next to the field where the players on the team live. It was clear that this program was investing a lot of time and money into these players, and with good reason. Every swing, every pitch, every throw across the diamond was smooth, almost effortless, but most importantly, strong. When we were warming up before the game, we had the opportunity to watch a few players who were trying out for the Hiroshima Carps take batting practice. Let's just say that we would have gladly taken any one of those players to be on our team if there ever was a possibility that we could. It was clear that they were players of a higher caliber, but this didn't stop us from coming out and competing. Although we started off a bit slow, one reason being that we haven't seen live pitching coming in at 95mph in well never, we still managed to finish the game with a few hits, six runs, and only one broken bat! The final score of the game was 16 6 In the end, the game really wasn't about winning or losing. As one of our captains, outfielder Zach Dignam, puts it, "We're playing baseball in a competitive environment where we get to see live pitching as well as some warm weather to help stretch out our arms, and we also get the chance to become acclimated to playing full games rather than just having practice. Also, I don't think I've seen anyone throw mid 90s before, so it's a huge benefit to see pitching that fast because now we'll be prepared for any pitcher we face in the Landmark Conference." After the game, we headed back to the hotel to clean up, and then we headed to Santo Domingo. When we arrived in Santo Domingo, we were given a tour of the Colonial Zone. Our tour guide's name was Juan, and he did an excellent job at making the tour interesting and fun. The first place we saw was Fortaleza Ozama, also known as the Fortress of Santo Domingo. It was built in 1505, and used as a military installment. We were able nike shoes air force to go up in a small tower that gave us a great view of the ocean and the rest of the city. The next place we visited was an old, incredible Jesuit church that is now being used as a mausoleum. Since we are coming from a Jesuit university, it was really interesting to see that the Jesuits even had an impact in the Dominican Republic. On the tour, Juan told us a lot about the history of the Colonial Zone, and so it was hard to take it all in at once, but one memorable fact was that Christopher Columbus had a huge impact in the city, and even lived here. Next, we headed to mass. This is where I'm pretty sure we are going to be making headlines in the local Santo Domingo paper tomorrow. The headline will probably read, "American Baseball team interrupts important Santo Domingo Military Police mass," in Spanish, of course. We didn't actually interrupt mass, but when we first arrived at the church we were denied entrance. Luckily, our tour guide, Juan, was able to convince them to let us in, and when we entered we realized we were very under dressed. Lined up in every pew were officers and generals in uniform, as well as civilians in their best outfits. There were no pews left to sit in, so the whole team had to grab chairs from a back room and line them up in the right hand aisle. It was a bit awkward at first, because everyone in the pews was looking at us, and I'm sure they were wondering who let us in, but they didn't seem to mind us, and it was very kind of them to let us partake in their special v for vendetta nike shoes mass. Although nike v series shoes everything was in Spanish, I was able to pick up a few words here and there, so it was actually a bit fun for me, but everyone else seemed lost. Still, it was nice to see how another part of the world does it, and we even get to say we sat in the same room with some very high ranking officials, because according to sophomore infielder Seth Bower, our military specialist, the men sitting in the front pews had a lot of medals. Before we left the city to head back to the hotel, we stopped at a nice little gift shop to pick up some merchandise. In the gift shop there was everything from Dominican Republic t shirts and hats, to necklaces, and even cigars. Some of us were able to resist the pressure from the people in the store to buy gifts we didn't want, while others cracked. And those of us who knew what we were doing were able to barter to get the price of gifts lowered. All in all, I think everyone left the gift shop happy and ready to head back to the hotel. It was a long day and we have another long day ahead of us. We didn't go to the Dominican winter league game today because we are now attending the game being played on Thursday. Tomorrow, we look forward to playing our second game here in the Dominican Republic.