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MLB to stage first game in Dominican Republic in 20 years

Estadio Quisqueya Juan Marichal in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Major League Baseball has finalized plans to play a Spring Training exhibition game next month in the Dominican Republic, representing the league’s first game in the country in two decades.

The Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers will play March 7 at Estadio Quisqueya Juan Marichal in Santo Domingo, a facility named for the Hall of Fame pitcher. MLB last played in the Dominican Republic during in 2000, also during Spring Training that year. The Tigers last played outside of the US and Canada in 1980, when the club participated in the Roberto Clemente Series in Puerto Rico.

The Dominican Republic has long been a highly fertile source of major league player talent. The country has the largest number of players on MLB roster of any place outside of the US, last year reaching a record 102 players on 2019 Opening Day rosters. The Dominican Republic last year represented 11.6 per cent of all major leaguers, and 40.6 per cent of internationally born players on Opening Day rosters, also the highest such percentage in MLB history.

The game itself will be supplemented in the Dominican republic with two free events from its Play Ball youth participation platform. 

“International growth, especially in Latin America, is a priority for many teams across the sport,” said Al Avila, Tigers executive vice president of baseball operations and general manager. Avila’s father, Ralph, started the first baseball academy in the Dominican Republic. “This is truly a country that has passionate fans and a rich history with baseball.”