Last month I traveled to Haiti and attended the after school practice of one of Haiti’s baseball leagues. The 10-17 year old Tigers who received new equipments from the Jack Brewer Foundation was so excited to be playing and gave us some information on their upcoming season and describes what the sport meant to them.
Here is the clip from my visit.
According to Baseball EBM, In May the first baseball leagues ever to be established in Haiti will begin their inaugural season. Haiti occupies a third of Hispaniola, an island in the Greater Antilles. They share the island with neighboring baseball giants, the Dominican Republic. These two countries haven’t had a great relationship and they certainly don’t share the same enthusiasm for baseball.
In the Dominican Republic, baseball is nearly a religion and it has been so for over a century. In Haiti, the sport has only really been played for the last three years. But, in the poorest country in the northern hemisphere, there is a good dynamic around baseball, especially with the younger generation. baseballEBM spoke with Gardy Cyriaque Prophète, the president of the Haitian baseball and softball association.
Cyriaque says that baseball and softball are brand new disciplines in Haiti, “We have to face many difficulties. We don’t have any infrastructures and there is a lack of qualified coaches and staff members. Plus, in Haiti, the government’s policy doesn’t provide subsidies to sports associations.”
Members of the committee are often called to help fund the association’s activities since sponsorship is something that rarely happens. Compared with basketball and football baseball isn’t a very popular sport in Haiti despite Rawlings having had their baseball manufacturing plant located in the country between 1969-1990.
Did their presence have a positive impact on Haitian baseball?
Our players weren’t born when Rawlings had their plant in Haiti. Baseball has only really been played on the island for the last 3 years. Over the past few decades, there were some attempts to bring baseball to Haiti. They were personal initiatives that didn’t survive. Now we have an association, recognized by the WBSC, the baseball Pan-American Confederation, the Haitian Olympic Committee and the Haitian State. We hope to expand our partnership with Dominican Republic soon.
Similar to Nepal’s story, the roots of Haiti’s modern baseball tale can be traced back to Mother Earth. In Port-au-Prince Blue Jay Bryn Mooser, along with Artists for Peace and Justice (APJ), helped kids recover from earthquake devastation through baseball. Through APJ Mooser made a donation that helped to build a sports academy in Haiti. Working with Rawlings, who at one time called Haiti home, they donated some Blue Jays gear to help the kids start a baseball program. – Continue Reading Here