Most athletes who’ve felt the pull of a major league dream understand that the dream never really disappears. In some cases it returns to us as a luxury: a passcard to Weekend Warriordom, the boon of well-rounded youth. But for those who put more at risk to achieve athletic greatness, the failed dream is a stinging reminder of missed opportunity.
In this VICE exposé, our intro to Major League Baseball’s dangerously elaborate Dominican farm system begins with a struggling barber saying, "No one wants to get thrown away." Jesus Castillo skips high school to chase what in his country remains a patriotic dream of going pro, but when his elbow explodes, he turns from a prospect to a has-been—just one of the 98% of Dominican hopefuls tossed aside when their baseball report cards sink below high percentile.
One MLB franchise is implementing an education program in hopes of stalling this troubling pattern and playing to the long-term careers of its Dominican prospects. Young men at the Arizona Diamondbacks’ camp in Boca Chica now don’t have to choose between graduation and potential stardom; they have both in a contract to their future, even if they fail on the field.
Excerpts from the discussion
@01:02 Kafou: It's always better to have a back up plan in case you don't make professional. You have more chances of becoming a doctor than baseball professional.
@02:19 Nantwi: This program is similar to in Ghana, which also uses education to help aspiring soccer players.
@08:25 yaotse: Sad to know that some people who pick up injuries along the way are abandoned without treatment, making all their hard work go to waste.