Baseball is considered by Dominicans as “The King of Sports”. Introduced to the country by Cuban immigrants in the 19th century, it is today a sign of identity for its inhabitants, being the largest exporter of major leagues in the United States. But not all Dominicans who play baseball (or “pelota” as they call it) outside the Dominican Republic do so in the important clubs of the National League or the American League. The vast majority are immigrants who have had to leave their country in search of better living conditions and a better working future.
In Spain, the Dominican community constitutes one of the most important immigrant communities and, of course, they still play baseball and softball. With the arrival of good weather, season starts and improvised baseball fields begin to emerge on hundreds of Spanish cities. It is the players themselves who prepare the fields to leave them in the best conditions.
Every Sunday becomes a holiday where not only a ball is hit and bases are run. It is also a day to live in community and remember the roots of a country that has been left behind. The players and their families get together to live a day in the Dominican way and enjoy food, drink, music and above all, a good game of “pelota”. The games begin at noon and do not stop until the sun sets. During the breaks, the Latin music starts playing and the cold beer makes its presence felt on the benches. In spite of the festive atmosphere, the games are played to the fullest and there are many tense moments. Each ball is played as if it were the last one.
Let the game begin. Pleibol!!
About the author:
Born in 1980 in Madrid (Spain), Juan Rodríguez Morales is a documentary photographer based in Madrid. In 2003, he completed his studies in psychology. Afterwards, he studied photography in Alcobendas (Madrid) at People´s University. In 2011, he participated in a photo workshop with Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb, which changed his vision on photography. In 2015 he receives an Honorable Mention for the FotoVisura Grant for Outstanding Personal Photography Project with his work “Ghost world”. As part of the collective “Contemporaries” has participated in few collective exhibitions and published the book “Contemporaries” in 2015. His works have been published in digital media such as: C41 Magazine, Clavoardiendo, Mutant Space, For Example, AYE Magazine, PhotoArt Magazine, Dodho Magazine, The Hidden Photo, Eyeshot Magazine.
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