New Yankees teammates Robinson Cano and Rafael Soriano were among the MLB players who visiting the United States Ambassador to the Dominican Republic on Thursday night. Here’s the press release and a picture, both passed along by Major League Baseball.
A contingent of representatives from Major League Baseball’s office in Santo Domingo and more than 40 Major League players visited the residence of the United States Ambassador to the Dominican Republic on Thursday evening. The visit, sponsored by the U.S. Embassy and Ambassador Raul Yzaguirre, celebrated the charitable work of the Major League Baseball Dominican Development Alliance (MLB-DDA) and Major League players in Dominican communities and aimed to encourage additional opportunities via MLB-DDA’s relationship with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Jorge Pérez-Díaz, the head of Latin American Oversight for Major League Baseball, was among the MLB delegation at the event, along with the interim director of USAID, James Watson. The Major League players in attendance included three-time Cy Young Award winner Pedro Martinez; Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde of the Detroit Tigers; Robinson Cano and Rafael Soriano of the New York Yankees; Starlin Castro and Aramis Ramirez of the Chicago Cubs; Nelson Cruz and 2010 American League Rookie of the Year Neftali Feliz of the Texas Rangers; Octavio Dotel of the Toronto Blue Jays; coach Manny Mota of the Los Angeles Dodgers; Ubaldo Jimenez of the Colorado Rockies; David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox; Ervin Santana and coach Alfredo Griffin of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; and many others.
“Major League Baseball was delighted to spend time with the U.S. Ambassador and build on this vital relationship,” Pérez-Díaz said. “MLB is honored to work with USAID in order to identify creative ways of supporting the Dominican Republic through our common bond of baseball. The work of the Dominican players in the Majors to benefit their communities at home is truly admirable.”
During the visit, MLB representatives and players discussed plans for the organization of a campaign with MLB Clubs called “Dominican Baseball Families.” The proposed campaign focuses on connecting fans to community development projects in the Dominican Republic by organizing players, Clubs and fans into “families.” The families would then become active participants in supporting existing and new projects that are co-managed by the MLB-DDA.
“Many players participate in fundraising and community events to support the communities of the United States,” said Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez, “but we also want to support our communities in the Dominican Republic, and we welcome the support of the Major League teams and the fans.”
The MLB-DDA was created to attract resources from the MLB industry to support sound community development projects in the Dominican Republic, which produced more than 10 percent of MLB players on 2010 Opening Day rosters. USAID provided $1 million to benefit partnering 501(c)3 certified community development organizations in the DR. To date, the MLB-DDA has channeled over $1.2 million to support 16 projects in the Caribbean nation.