The First Game (cont - 3)

Estrellas was on their way to having another poor year. They had a few veteran players who grew up in San Pedro de Macoris that continued to play for the team and there were the minor leaguers from the United States who came down to enhance their game. Some of these players the major league teams sent down usually had trouble coping with the style of play in the Caribbean. They were never the best prospects, but they came down here with something to prove. If they just went through the motions, or struggled to produce the fans would let them know it with boos and catcalls. It was probably best many of them did not speak Spanish to hear the insults being thrown at them. The fans and the native players wanted to win. They were not interested in developing some other team’s prospects, especially those who did not hustle when playing the game.

As the winter season progressed two players were being booed for their poor play. Estrellas had to eventually release them. Another kid was hit with diarrhea. He had to leave because he had already lost 15 pounds trying to fight through it. A fourth kid drank too much beer one night, got a little loud and loose with one of the local women and had to be whisked off the island before he would be arrested for urinating on a police vehicle.

All this swirled around for the first 15 games of the season, but despite the 4-11 record Estrellas was not involved in any blow outs as defined by Pablo.

Jason suited up for every game, sat quietly in the bullpen area with the other pitchers, heard all the booing mixed with the cheers, but the fans knew nothing about him because he had never appeared in a game. Some wondered if he was even a player, or possibly just an assistant who helped the other pitchers in the bullpen. For all they knew, he could have been the physical therapist. They left him pretty much alone.

He lived his life quietly, clinging to John for support, never leaving the antiquated baseball facilities to explore the Dominican Republic unless he took a bus ride for a road trip. That would change in the bottom of the seventh when Estrellas had gotten behind 12-0 in the city of Santo Domingo at Estadio Quisqueya against the defending Dominican champion Licey Tigres.

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