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5 Straight, Boca Chica Photos

Again, we had some heavy showers over night and again, for the 5th straight game, the team won’t be playing here today. It looks like the bus is fired up, so perhaps the away game might be played. Now, though, the skies are clear and sunny, so let’s hope good weather is here to stay.

As promised, I finally took some photos of Boca Chica, most of which I’ll post to the Photo Gallery. But, here are some for your perusal.

Here’s a scene along the main road in the town, Avenida Duarte. There’s lots of these places where you can buy a large variety of paintings. I don’t know how much of them are mass produced. I saw a guy painting one once and the canvas had all the outlines of the various elements already drawn in, much like a Paint-by-Number kit. Still, they’re pretty. The canvas rolls up easily for traveling, so if I have enough room in my baggage, I might bring a few back.

Boca_Chica_Paintings

Here’s a shot along the beach. It’s unusual in that there are very few people here, even though it’s a Saturday.

Boca_Beach_1

Maybe everyone was at the Harley-Davidson festival that day. Here’s one of the bikes–lots of nice looking ones.

Boca_Harley_1

Here’s a view from my usual hangout, under the palm trees. This is the best part of the beach, in my opinion. Everything here, food and drink, is a bit expensive, but you’re really paying for the ambience.

Boca_Beach_5

Finally, we haven’t had too many good sunrises or sunsets lately, but this one was kind of nice. The white dot in the upper middle of the photo is Venus.

Sunset-6-7-1

Also, I forgot to mention (and I hope I don’t jinx them) that the Big Club has now won 8 in a row and cut the Red Sox lead to 8 1/2 games.

Breaking News!

Ok, it’s not that breathtaking, but since I started writing this, the Diamondbacks bus came to the camp. At first I thought that they were going to try to play a game here, but, looking out my bathroom window, I see that the Yankee team is boarding the bus. Obviously, the Arizona club, which was supposed to play here today, sent their bus to pick up the Yanks and take them to the Diamondback field, which must have missed all the rain. Our bus, in the meantime, is transporting the Bombers to the regularly scheduled away field (haven’t looked to see who they are playing). Obviously, our camp lay right under the path of the bands of rain clouds that have been passing through the area, but some of the other camps were spared.

Boca, Player Contracts

I finally made it into Boca Chica with a couple of the coaches this past Sunday. It’s not all that impressive, pretty run down, and the beach was extremely crowded and a bit trashy from all the weekend activities–nothing like Thailand, but it wasn’t beach hell, either. Again, the beaches on the east coast of the DR are supposed to be truly spectacular. First, though, we visited a resort just a few miles down the road from Boca at Playa Guayacanes, a hotel that the coaches and players stayed in last summer, courtesy of the Yankees, just before moving onto the new campus. I guess there’s still a fairly close relationship between the hotel and the Yanks, since they gave us some free snacks and drinks. Aniuska, in charge of the day-to-day running of the campus, was also there with her husband, enjoying the swimming pool. It wasn’t too bad, although a bit small, with a nice little beach. I didn’t have my camera, so there are no pictures.

Our tropical wave turned out to be more of a ripple, but there was another spectacular, early-morning light show.

Lightning1
In an earlier post, I mentioned that the Yankees couldn’t legally sign the players that are here. Wrong. They can’t sign them until they’re 16 and they can’t let unsigned players stay at the facility for more than 30 days, so most of these guys have contracts. In fact, a couple of them have signed for sums of $2.5 and $3 million, I’m told. Again, no names.

Classes continue to go well, though I’m very busy designing my own materials. I’ve ordered a bunch of books which, hopefully, will help reduce the workload. I managed to make some time yesterday, however, to watch the first intra-squad game. Thursday sees the start of the action between the different teams based in the area. The players on the Yanks have been split into two teams, with one team going on the road to the other teams’ ballparks and one staying here to play each day. Should be fun. I’m going to work late at night to get my lesson plans done so that I can watch all the games, which run from about 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

I also found out that my apartment is exclusively mine, meaning no roommate. With all the books, clothes, printer, etc. crammed in here, there certainly isn’t much space left for someone else.

Time to go out to the balcony and watch the dew glitter under another golden tropical sunrise before breakfast. However, I’ll leave you with another beautiful sunset below. More later.

DR_Sunset_2

Santo Domingo and Venezuela

I took a quick run into Santo Domingo Tuesday morning to get information about applying for a work visa. You can see the SD skyline from quite a ways off and it was startling to see the layer of smog and haze surrounding the capital contrasting with the blue skies and ocean just a bit further off the coast. I had to go into Boca Chica to get a taxi, so one of the security guards gave me a ride into town on the back of his motorbike. The taxi was actually a van and was WAY too expensive ($40). Some of the players are going into SD on the local bus (gua-gua) this Saturday, so I’ll ride in with them to learn where the bus station is, what the procedure is for paying, etc. I hear that the gua-gua is very cheap, in the neighborhood of a few dollars. Much better than $40!

My first look at Boca Chica was not very impressive. The small part of the city that I saw was pretty run down and seedy-looking. However, I didn’t go all the way to the beach, about which I’ve heard mixed impressions. Some people say it’s not that good; others think it’s beautiful. Those who’ve said it’s not all that great were comparing it to the spectacular beaches of the east coast of the DR, which probably isn’t quite fair to do. From what I’ve read, the east coast has world-class beaches, some of the most beautiful anywhere. I hope to go there over the short Christmas break and stay at one of the all-inclusive resorts for a few days. (Not for long, though–they have world-class prices, too.)

Yesterday, we had a very heavy downpour of rain, so noisy that I had to stop lecturing in the middle of one of my classes. It was a real torrent, but it only lasted about 5 minutes or so.

I’ve made friends with a couple of the Venezuelan players, among others, so I’m learning a bit about that country. One of the pitchers, Jean Paul (JP), didn’t practice yesterday morning because he had a tooth pulled, so Abel wanted me to talk to him for an hour or so, kind of a private tutoring session. A very friendly young man (19 this Saturday), I think he’s one of Abel’s “can’t miss” prospects. We talked about Venezuelan food and about what he can expect when/if he goes to Tampa next year for Spring Training. (BTW, he says he’s got a decent fastball and a good curve, but the change-up is his best pitch.) Some of the higher-ups are here watching these guys, including the Head of Player Development and the Head Scout for the region. More later.