Thursday, September 29, 2011

Epy Guerrero’s baseball legacy lives in the US and the Dominican Republic

By: Chris Martinez
InteRDom Intern Fall 2011
InteRDom Experience Series Article #1

Christine Martinez studies Global Studies with minors in journalism and Spanish at San Jose State University in San Jose, California. She is participating in InteRDom's Fall 2011 Academic Semester, taking courses at a local university and carrying out a research project specially structured for her by InteRDom staff on the business of baseball in the Dominican Republic. The articles that she produces will be published on this blog under the tag "InteRDom Experience Series." To read more about Chris' experience with InteRDom in the Dominican Republic, read the InteRDom Experience Series on the InteRDom webpage.

To understand baseball in the Dominican Republic, it's best to consult the best man for the job. Epifanio Guerrero has signed more players to Major League contracts than any scout, has produced World Series winning talent, and has won loads of awards for his accomplishments. He continues his work as an independent scout in the Dominican Republic today.

These days, Epy is an affable guy who's eager to tell stories of his 40 years in baseball. His house at his training complex in Villa Mella has a room full of pictures of his players, articles about his work, and awards for his achievements.

Guerrero's success in the sport can be summarized in a framed photo sitting in his Santo Domingo home. It's the three newest members of the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y.: right-handed pitcher Bert Blyleven, infielder Roberto Alomar, and executive Pat Gillick. The trio was inducted into the Hall of Fame this July, and Guerrero was on hand to celebrate with Alomar and Gillick, two men who owe much of their success to Guerrero.

Guerrero worked as a scout in the Toronto Blue Jays organization, signing and developing players like Carlos Delgado, Tony Fernandez, and Damaso Garcia. In 1991, fourteen of the players on Toronto's 40-man roster were guys Guerrero signed and developed. The following year, the Dominican Summer League Blue Jays won 38 games to start the 1992 season before finishing 68-2.

Artifacts of both milestones are also in Guerrero's Santo Domingo home. There's a picture, yellowed with age and hanging on the wall, of Guerrero standing with seven of his kids in 1991. A white baseball cap embroidered with the old Blue Jays logo and a special inscription of the DSL team's 38-0 record hangs on his bureau.

Of course, there is the big prize of the Blue Jays organization. Toronto won back-to-back World Series titles in 1992 and 1993, thanks in no small part to Guerrero's talent pool. Alomar was one of the offensive stars of those teams.

Gillick was the general manager of the Blue Jays when they won their world titles and went on to win another World Series with Philadelphia in 2008 before retiring from executive work.

Guerrero built the Toronto teams for Gillick, someone he's still close with and refers to as a father figure.

Guerrero has also scouted for Houston and Milwaukee but has seen the greatest achievements of his career come in Toronto. Now he works for himself, developing Dominican kids independent of any one team.

Guerrero’s legacy in the Dominican Republic can be seen in the talent he sends to the Major Leagues, but also in his most important organization: his family.

It’s clear that Guerrero values family in baseball. His sons Sandy, Patrick, and Mike all work in the sport. Sandy is the hitting coach for the Triple-A Nashville Sounds in the Brewers organization and Mike was a manager for Double-A Huntsville, also a Brewers affiliate, in 2009. Patrick works with his father in the Villa Mella camp.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Field of International Relations in the Dominican Republic

By: Jatnna Garcia
InteRDom Caribbean Summer 2011 Alumnus

Growing up in the Dominican Republic was a great experience. There are so many things to love about this tiny island, from its weather to its people. Through the different multicultural activities at school, I met people from all over the world with all sorts of races, religions, and cultures. I became highly interested in foreign languages, the way people from different nations interacted, and how people with different cultural backgrounds got along. I knew ever since elementary school that I wanted to get to know many cultures, further interact with people from around the world, and learn more about different nations, therefore, international relations seemed like the best career choice for me. Eventually, I figured that it was important for me to study in another country, in order to better understand how one’s culture, religion, native language and so on could affect the way one formed relations with different people. This is what mostly influenced my decision to finish high school in the US and go on to college in the same country. Besides, I realized it would be a great way to get some firsthand experience on international relations. Also, few to no Dominican colleges offered the program, so the best decision seemed to be to leave the country.

Coming back to the Dominican Republic to work for a local NGO that deals with International Relations so closely as does the Dominican Council of International Relations (CDRI), under the initiative of FUNGLODE, was a marvelous experience. It feels great to be able to, through my chosen career path, give back to the land in which I grew up. Since I left, I always came back for vacations, but none had been as long and beneficial as this one. I got to see and be a part of a lot of changes taking place in regards to education in the country, one being in the area of international relations itself. Careers in diplomacy and international relations are now offered in two local universities (UNICARIBE & UCSD), and more programs, including masters and graduate programs are being drafted. Lastly, I noticed that more and more people are interested in international relations here in the Dominican Republic, and that the country is getting more and more involved in international affairs. These discoveries fill my heart with joy because, although there's still a long way to go, Dominican Republic, in comparison with other countries in the Region, keeps an accelerated pace in terms of development, in accordance to the demands of a globalized planet.