By Amy Nelson
Special to Page 2


Dominican Republic baseball
Batting practice for Licey, the home team. Many players who are affiliated with major-league teams wear their regular BP warm-ups. In this photo, Indians second baseman Ronnie Belliard chats outside the cage. To his right is Andy Abad, a minor-leaguer in the Reds' system who is Cuban but loves playing in the D.R. so much he bought an apartment in Santo Domingo.

Dominican Republic baseball
As I was walking out to right field, I noticed a table of five men playing dominoes. I knew I wanted to capture the scene, but by the time I came back they were finished with their game. So I walked into this space that was adjacent to the visitors' bullpen and shot what was left.

Dominican Republic baseball
You cannot be in the D.R. without having a Presidente, the national beer. When served cold, there is no rival, in my opinion. In the concourse behind the visitors' dugout, a girl checks her nightly stock.

Dominican Republic baseball
Tony Pena Jr., whose father Tony (a former major-leaguer) used to manage the Aguilas, now plays for them. He's a Double-A infielder in the Braves' system. Tony Jr. thought it would be fun to show me the flower he was playing with as kids look on.

Dominican Republic baseball
Starting pitcher Juan Cruz, of the Oakland Athletics, warms up with a simulated hitter. The fans' feet dangle over the wall as they pack into the third-baseline bleachers. In Santo Domingo, whether at the stadium or at a local bodega on the corner, people pack together to watch beisbol. One night I drove past a liquor store that had a big-screen TV outside with a crowd of people watching the game.

Dominican Republic baseball
The fans are so great. Every time I walked by they called to me, always laughing and smiling, and quite often using the peace sign. The one girl in blue has her hand raised in an "L" for Licey. She is surrounded by Aguilas fans. Packed in like sardines, they will sit like this for the entire game.


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