Last night the news broke that Major League Baseball was allowing the Dominican Republic baseball academies run by big league teams to open up and operate again as of October 19th. This was first reported, as far as I’ve been able to track, by Mr. Scout on twitter. What a time to be alive.
The academies down there have been shut down since mid-March due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Things are a bit different at the baseball academies in the Dominican Republic than they are at the complexes in both Florida and Arizona at the spring training sites. At the academies there are dorms where the players live together during the season. There’s a cafeteria where the players eat. There are classrooms where the players are educated.
Ben Badler of Baseball America put together a story on things last night. From his report, Badler notes that Major League Baseball is allowing organizations to try and play games against other teams – but with a wrinkle that hasn’t been there in the past. This year teams can not hold tryouts at the facilities, nor can they have unsigned players participate in these instructional league games as a part of their tryout – something that they have been allowed to do in the past.
Just like the instructional leagues here in the United States, Major League Baseball has set up health and safety protocols that must be followed in order for teams to move forward with their plans.
The Reds are in the process of determining what it is that they will be able to do. I’m told it’s their intention to provide training opportunities this offseason at the Dominican Republic academy.
What all that entails has yet to be determined as teams, not just the Reds, figure out what they can and can’t do. Instructional league here stateside is happening right now, but it is a little bit more limited than it usually is because of all that is going on, the protocols that must be followed, etc. This is me speculating based on that information, but there will likely be similar things that happen at the academies in the Dominican Republic as “business as usual” likely isn’t possible for the time being.