RE “VALENTINE film delivers heat; Depiction of scouts in Dominican Republic upsets baseball world,” Page A1, July 10.
I have spent a lot of time in the Dominican Republic. I saw 10-year-olds hit curving bottle caps with a stick. They never swung and missed. Twelve-year-olds can throw a baseball through a wall. By age 14, some Dominican ballplayers can hit a ball 400 feet.
The scouts work with Major League Baseball teams. When a kid is signed, the family is paid. That pay has increased over the years. Next, the prospect is sent to a baseball camp run by a major league team. Their skills are honed by MLB coaches. They live dormitory-style, with good nutrition and weight training and learn baseball English. The business model is to cast a wide net, hoping for some keepers. This system has worked for decades. It is a possible way out of endless poverty for talented players.
Bobby Valentine is 10 years too late in his criticism. No boy on that island would change a thing.