Tracking Winter Ball

winter ball
This winter season, Leonys Martin, Jurickson Profar, Engel Beltre will be playing for the Licey Tigers of the Dominican League. Robbie Ross, Neftali Feliz, and Ronald Guzman (MiLB first baseman, a.k.a. “The Condor”) will be playing for the Este Toros. Another handful of guys will probably get added in the next couple of weeks to a month, but those are the first round of names being confirmed as of now. 
I’ve really grown to love watching winter baseball. As a fan, not only does it fill my baseball void, but it’s also a cultural education from my perch in Dallas, Texas. The Dominican fans are so very passionate about baseball and they love seeing the major leaguers come over to play. The best moment I’ve observed was last season, when Jurickson Profar was replaced mid-game by Dee Gordon (of the Dodgers). The fans were not happy because Gordon had been struggling a bit and Profar was having a good night; their feelings were made clear and it was very entertaining to observe. 

It’s also fun to see unity on a team constructed of local players and MLB players who come and go all winter long. You’ll see guys like Profar, Beltre, and Martin cheering on their teammates and also getting picked on by them as well, even if it’s their last game with the team and they’re headed back to the US afterwards. You also see those same guys bring that infectious fun back to their teams, which I love to see in the game of baseball. Some MLBers even find ways to help the team and community. Check this out. That’s Engel Beltre doing a recycling commercial for Licey in 2012, in order to promote their “green initiative” at the ballpark. 


One thing that took a bit of getting used to was watching broadcasts and trying to keep up with the announcers, who, as expected, broadcast in Spanish. It’s really not terribly hard to keep pace with it, though, once you pick up on some key “lingo” words. The games are worth the time invested, even if it’s hard to keep up with the announcing. 


I encourage fans to give a couple of games a shot, just to see some very good, entertaining baseball that involves some of our Rangers and other talent. We may get to see Jurickson Profar get some heavy work in at second base to help prepare for some other moves in the in-field (we are, after all, a Ken Williams press conference in Chicago away from discussing other options at first base). Regardless, give this winter ball system a shot; you just may like it. 
Sarah Powers is a Staff Writer for ShutDowninning.com. She can be reached at sarah.powers@shutdowninning.com or on Twitter @Power_Play86.
Sarah Powers

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