The pressure to produce big league prospects takes its toll on the Dominican Republic.
The game of baseball has helped hundreds of players from the Dominican Republic lift their families out of poverty. And it’s a boon to the economy. Each year Major League Baseball pours about $100 million into the country.
But the year-round race to churn out the strongest, fastest, and youngest baseball players in the world is taking a toll on this small Caribbean country.
Fake birth certificates. Kickbacks. The pressure to cheat is strong. There’s even a phrase for it. La Buena Mentira. The Good Lie.
Boys start playing baseball young. If they’re lucky, when they turn 16, they get five minutes to show off to a Major League scout.
Patrick Madden reports.
This series was produced on a World Affairs Journalism Fellowship, directed by the International Center for Journalists and funded by the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.