What’s the biggest rivalry in baseball? Sox vs Yankees? Astros vs… heck, everyone else?

Well, to find this one, you have to look to the Dominican Republic.

That beautiful, raucous, joyful, baseball-crazed little island country in the Caribbean. This peculiar and happy nation has been witnessing the most intense rivalry professional baseball has ever seen anywhere.

What’s the biggest rivalry in baseball? Sox vs Yankees? Astros vs… heck, everyone else?

 

Well, to find this one, you have to look to the Dominican Republic.

 

That beautiful, raucous, joyful, baseball-crazed little island country in the Caribbean. This peculiar and happy nation has been witnessing the most intense rivalry professional baseball has ever seen anywhere.

Guillermo Pérez

Chief Creative Officer

In the world of sports rivalries, there are some legendary ones. And DR’s Licey Tigers vs Cibao Eagles is baseball’s equivalent to Ohio State vs Michigan. This is Ali vs Frazier level stuff. This is Hulk Hogan vs André the Giant in Wrestlemania III, repeated every year for 3 generations.

In a tournament with a 70 year history, these two teams have been to the finals 45 times. And the record stands neck and neck 23 to 22.

Never a sweep. Every series, down to the wire. Every at bat, every pitch an epic battle, in truly nail-biting games full of merengue, bachata, dembow, and extra innings. A level of excitement and drama much like 2004’s Yankees vs Red Sox, or this year’s crazy playoff run of the Phillies and Rangers. But, repeated every time these two face off.

Guillermo Pérez

Chief Creative Officer

In the world of sports rivalries, there are some legendary ones. And DR’s Licey Tigers vs Cibao Eagles is baseball’s equivalent to Ohio State vs Michigan. This is Ali vs Frazier level stuff. This is Hulk Hogan vs André the Giant in Wrestlemania III, repeated every year for 3 generations.

 

In a tournament with a 70 year history, these two teams have been to the finals 45 times. And the record stands neck and neck 23 to 22.

 

Never a sweep. Every series, down to the wire. Every at bat, every pitch an epic battle, in truly nail-biting games full of merengue, bachata, dembow, and extra innings. A level of excitement and drama much like 2004’s Yankees vs Red Sox, or this year’s crazy playoff run of the Phillies and Rangers. But, repeated every time these two face off.

 

Maybe, it’s why MLB decided to bring a series of the “Titans of the Caribbean” to Citi Field in NY. And it’s no coincidence they chose Queens.

 

I remember visiting family and somehow always passing through old Shea Stadium and the remnants of 1963’s World’s Fair. Queens is a connection point for NY’s massive Dominican community of over 700,000 people.

 

In the first game of this series, over 25,000 fans came to Citi Field in mid-November weather. Live performances of merengue, urban, hip hop, and bachata music filled the air. Yes, Dominicans love for baseball is even stronger than their hate for winter weather.

 

Baseball fans don’t behave in unison like a big human flock the way soccer fans do in Europe and Argentina. The atmosphere here feels more like a big beach party. You sure notice when there’s Dominicans around. Your ears feel it.

Is DR the only Caribbean country where baseball is this big?

No.

 

But this rivalry has made teams and players in DR notoriously good at winning and being clutch. In the Caribbean Series, where champions from Puerto Rico, Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela, Panama, Colombia and DR face off every year, Dominican teams have won a whopping 22 times, 38% of all championships. With 17 of those among these very two teams.

 

In these games, you will not only witness insane competition and grit, you get a raw glimpse of joy and passion for the game. One so irreverent, and pure, it’s infectious. The taunts, the memes… this is a space where in good fun, all political correctness is thrown away. Like Carnaval in baseball uniforms, where flamboyant players “go for it” in every turn, spirited narrators with sharp-tongued, perfectly timed voiceovers narrate feats of athleticism and daring. Along with laughter, music, mascots, and cheerleaders in the stands. It’s intoxicating. This is the game at its best.

 

Baseball is in fact, National Treasure dressed as a pastime.

 

This most American of creations reveals the changes in society through its long history. It’s a lesson on Media and Business, the rise and fall of cities, of hope, loyalty and heroics. Baseball history reveals the trials and tribulations of labor, and the realities of racial inequality like few things can. Is there a more powerful symbol for integration than Jackie Robinson? Baseball is this constant that reflects American values and traditions. And most importantly, social changes revealed within ballparks and fields, nine innings at a time for generations.

Could there be a better witness to NYC’s history than baseball?

From Coogan’s Bluff and John McGraw… Polo Grounds, the Bambino, The House that Ruth Built in the Bronx… the reality and trauma for a community seeing their Giants and Dodgers leave. Lou Ghering saying goodbye as the “Luckiest man on the face of this earth”, Dimaggio’s streak, Mickey Mantle, Maris going for 61, The Miracle Mets, Steinbrenner, Billy Martin Being fired, Reggie’s big three, Billy Martin being fired, Bucky “F.” Dent, Billy Martin being fired… Strawberry and the Doc, Mariano, A-Rod. Yes, even A-Rod… And one of the city’s biggest thank yous ever given, to one Derek Jeter. All of these moments, a time capsule of the realities and changes lived by its people for over a century. Providing a snapshot of a rich ethnic diversity, like no other. Only in baseball guys with names like Rizzuto, Blomberg, Matsui and Soriano could be called “Yankees”.

Why is this relevant?

To many Americans, the first time they heard or mentioned a Latino name was at a baseball game.

For many, maybe it was the first time they saw a Latino person’s talent shine in competition and being part of a teamwork situation.


In the 1960’s-70’s a new kind of name started popping up all over the country. Names like Clemente, Marichal, Alou, Valenzuela, Armas, Sosa, Rivera, Alomar, Ramirez… Some on a first name basis like “Pedro” or “Mariano”. And later, even nicknames like “Big Papi”. Names you only heard growing up in Hispanic barrios and bodegas, are now part of the national fabric, through sheer talent and charisma. Players who made their bones playing with intensity in the winter leagues of the Caribbean.


So, if you are a baseball fan. Or just plain curious, take a peek into these phenomenal games. Grab some popcorn. Or maybe a beer, along with some fritura. And experience baseball like you’ve never seen before. This most American of exports that Caribbeans have made their own, and now bring back home for everyone to enjoy. As a gift from us.


But whatever you do, remember, there is only one rule you must follow.

In Águilas vs Tigres games, there can’t be neutral bystanders, you have to pick a side. In my case… “¡Mierda pa’ las Águilas!, ¡Licey Campeón!”

Take a look: Clash of Titans – A Memes Collection

Maybe, it’s why MLB decided to bring a series of the “Titans of the Caribbean” to Citi Field in NY. And it’s no coincidence they chose Queens.

I remember visiting family and somehow always passing through old Shea Stadium and the remnants of 1963’s World’s Fair. Queens is a connection point for NY’s massive Dominican community of over 700,000 people.

In the first game of this series, over 25,000 fans came to Citi Field in mid-November weather. Live performances of merengue, urban, hip hop, and bachata music filled the air. Yes, Dominicans love for baseball is even stronger than their hate for winter weather.

Baseball fans don’t behave in unison like a big human flock the way soccer fans do in Europe and Argentina. The atmosphere here feels more like a big beach party. You sure notice when there’s Dominicans around. Your ears feel it.

Is DR the only Caribbean country where baseball is this big?

No.

But this rivalry has made teams and players in DR notoriously good at winning and being clutch. In the Caribbean Series, where champions from Puerto Rico, Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela, Panama, Colombia and DR face off every year, Dominican teams have won a whopping 22 times, 38% of all championships. With 17 of those among these very two teams.

In these games, you will not only witness insane competition and grit, you get a raw glimpse of joy and passion for the game. One so irreverent, and pure, it’s infectious. The taunts, the memes… this is a space where in good fun, all political correctness is thrown away. Like Carnaval in baseball uniforms, where flamboyant players “go for it” in every turn, spirited narrators with sharp-tongued, perfectly timed voiceovers narrate feats of athleticism and daring. Along with laughter, music, mascots, and cheerleaders in the stands. It’s intoxicating. This is the game at its best.

Baseball is in fact, National Treasure dressed as a pastime.

This most American of creations reveals the changes in society through its long history. It’s a lesson on Media and Business, the rise and fall of cities, of hope, loyalty and heroics. Baseball history reveals the trials and tribulations of labor, and the realities of racial inequality like few things can. Is there a more powerful symbol for integration than Jackie Robinson? Baseball is this constant that reflects American values and traditions. And most importantly, social changes revealed within ballparks and fields, nine innings at a time for generations.

Could there be a better witness to NYC’s history than baseball?

From Coogan’s Bluff and John McGraw… Polo Grounds, the Bambino, The House that Ruth Built in the Bronx… the reality and trauma for a community seeing their Giants and Dodgers leave. Lou Ghering saying goodbye as the “Luckiest man on the face of this earth”, Dimaggio’s streak, Mickey Mantle, Maris going for 61, The Miracle Mets, Steinbrenner, Billy Martin Being fired, Reggie’s big three, Billy Martin being fired, Bucky “F.” Dent, Billy Martin being fired… Strawberry and the Doc, Mariano, A-Rod. Yes, even A-Rod… And one of the city’s biggest thank yous ever given, to one Derek Jeter. All of these moments, a time capsule of the realities and changes lived by its people for over a century. Providing a snapshot of a rich ethnic diversity, like no other. Only in baseball guys with names like Rizzuto, Blomberg, Matsui and Soriano could be called “Yankees”.

Why is this relevant?

To many Americans, the first time they heard or mentioned a Latino name was at a baseball game.

For many, maybe it was the first time they saw a Latino person’s talent shine in competition and being part of a teamwork situation.

In the 1960’s-70’s a new kind of name started popping up all over the country. Names like Clemente, Marichal, Alou, Valenzuela, Armas, Sosa, Rivera, Alomar, Ramirez… Some on a first name basis like “Pedro” or “Mariano”. And later, even nicknames like “Big Papi”. Names you only heard growing up in Hispanic barrios and bodegas, are now part of the national fabric, through sheer talent and charisma. Players who made their bones playing with intensity in the winter leagues of the Caribbean.

So, if you are a baseball fan. Or just plain curious, take a peek into these phenomenal games. Grab some popcorn. Or maybe a beer, along with some fritura. And experience baseball like you’ve never seen before. This most American of exports that Caribbeans have made their own, and now bring back home for everyone to enjoy. As a gift from us.

But whatever you do, remember, there is only one rule you must follow.

In Águilas vs Tigres games, there can’t be neutral bystanders, you have to pick a side. In my case… “¡Mierda pa’ las Águilas!, ¡Licey Campeón!”

Take a look: Clash of Titans – A Memes Collection

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