Click name to view affiliation
More than 1,400 Latin American professional baseball players, age 16-21, are employed by 30 Major League Baseball (MLB) academies in the Dominican Republic. The popular press has highlighted scandals related to professional youth baseball player recruitment, selection, and exploitation in the academies, but little attention has been given to the academy experiences of youth baseball players from the perspective of the players themselves. For this research, 11 professional baseball players residing at an MLB Academy in the Dominican Republic participated in semi-structured interviews. Players described their transitions into the baseball academy system, their experiences in the academy, and their perceptions and expectations upon leaving or being released from the academy. Themes that emerged from the data included athletes’ hopes and dreams, stress, faith, and career transitions. Clinical implications of these findings for sport psychology practitioners are discussed.
Ruiz, Van Raalte, and Petitpas are with the Department of Psychology, Springfield College, Springfield, MA. Van Raalte is also with the College of Health Sciences, Wuhan Sports University, Wuhan, Hubei, China. France is with the Department of Physical Education and Health Education, Springfield College, Springfield, MA.