Baseball = life in the D.R.   

Updated: February 8, 2007, 2:36 PM ET

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PART I | PART II | PART III

Dominican Republic baseball
A shot of the Licey fans and their flags. Whenever Licey made a good play, the bleachers became a sea of blue. Just before this, a Licey batboy came over to the Aguilas dugout and called out former major-leaguer Luis Polonia. What he said can't be repeated, but considering Polonia went after the kid, you can imagine it was pretty disrespectful. This was the second near-fight, and soon after two sets of lights went out for nearly 25 minutes. Just as they were about to shut off all the lights -- which could have prompted intense bottle-throwing -- the lights magically returned.

Dominican Republic baseball
I noticed this in-house jail near the end of the night; walked by it several times. The man to the left was eyeing me -- and, quite frankly, I didn't want to insult or anger the guys who were capable of locking me up. So I took a quick shot and left. I noticed several people were in there by the end of the game. "Security Department" is what the sign reads.

Dominican Republic baseball
A little "nino" waves his blue Licey flag after the home team won. The players feed off the energy -- you can see it and feel it. With one out to go, the entire Licey bullpen gathered just behind third base on the foul line. They kept inching closer, and when the final out was made, they jumped into the air to greet teammates on the mound. These players take the game seriously. At one point, Mets right fielder Victor Diaz threw his bat after striking out in a crucial situation.

Dominican Republic baseball
These women are no joke. Each team brings its own set of cheerleaders, and the two squads alternate in between plays, innings and power outages. The reggaeton, bachata and meringue blast out of the stadium speakers, and these girls go all out. The seventh-inning stretch? The girls in blue behind home plate, dancing to the Spanish sounds. They gladly posed for me and then jumped down, finished for the night. Until tomorrow.

Amy K. Nelson is a reporter for ESPN The Magazine. She can be reached at Amy.K.Nelson@espn3.com


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