Recreation and Sport Studies

Studying, Experiencing and Facilitating Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport through Wellness and Physical Activity


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Major League Baseball’s controversial recruiting process of Dominican ball players

As a graduating undergraduate in RSS, an article I would recommend reading is:

Zimmer, V. M. (2005). Dragging their devotion – The role of International law in Major League Baseball’s Dominican affairs. Northwestern Journal of International Human Rights, 4(2), 418-435. 

This article suggests that the MLB’s process for recruiting potential players from the Dominican is very different from other places such as Canada, United States and Puerto Rico.  There are three main differences in recruitment: a) the legal signing of sixteen year old players, as well as violations of the minimum signing age by MLB teams; b) the way in which they are signed.  Dominican players are offered nothing for protection; and c) the way in which players train and the resources that are available to them while training.

Diana Spagnulo, a law student, suggests that the MLB is responsible for making sure that the Dominican players are not being taken advantage of.   However, others would say that the Dominican must take care of their own people.  The Dominican government also knows that they are being taken advantage of, but choose not to do anything about it because it provides their country with great economic benefits.

Marcano and Fidler (2009) suggest that because the MLB is a business, they should follow and enforce human rights laws.  This duo argues that the MLB should follow international legal mechanisms like the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  If the Dominican government were to step up and change their own laws around this issue, then the MLB would have no other choice but to recruit and sign players the legal way.  With this being said, the MLB must also be held accountable for their wrong doings and actions.

Here is a trailer of a documentary that accompanies this article very well.  Hope you enjoy!