Tonight, thanks to Stan on Twitter and the power of internet streaming, I got to watch my first Dominican Winter League baseball game in a long time. Stan has some play-by-play tweets of Junior Lake‘s activities from earlier in the game, so that was one reason to check out the matchup between Aguilas Cibaenas and Estrellas de Oriente. The other was that Mariners star Robinson Cano was using this time to test out and rehab his busted toe, so there was some legitimate A-list awesome in the game. Lake and Cano were playing against Manny Ramirez, which was pretty awesome too.
Aside from checking out Lake’s progress (and perhaps he may make the Cubs think a bit about using him as a legitimate outfield option in 2015), I got to partake in the quirks of the Spanish language stream.
For example, tonight I learned that DWL games have cheerleaders. I guess even if they aren’t cheerleaders per se, they wave the flags around like the high school pep rally team, so that was interesting.
In addition, Spanish-language commercials are fun to listen to. Even though I took French, having worked temporarily in an area full of Spanish speakers back in California, I could understand a bit of it, but I’m certainly not fluent by any means. The broadcasters were very enthusiastic, and I’m going to assume they were knowledgeable as well because I don’t know exactly what they said. The commercials also had a copious amount of scantily clad beautiful women, so I guess that wasn’t too far removed from what we see in ‘Merica.
Since they have to get money from somewhere, the uniforms seemed unusually flushed with advertisements, almost like soccer (football) jerseys. I didn’t see any player names on the backs of jerseys, just a sponsor name. So I guess everyone on Aguilas was “Orange” and I forgot what Estrellas had (I think it was “El Gallo”). The colors were…loud. Much more festive than the run-of-the-mill MLB jersey, for sure.
I did note from Stan’s timeline and the box score that Lake was productive at the plate, grabbing a walk and driving in a run. His teammates did pretty good work spraying the ball all over the field and running the bases. Unfortunately Elian Herrera grounded into a double play and made himself look silly sliding into first base to erase a bases-loaded opportunity with Lake just a couple batters away. Former Cub Marcos Mateo came in for relief after that, hat tilt and all. Junior Lake took a pretty good route on a liner to center and then climbed the wall for some reason (it was only the second out) but he did make the play after muffing one earlier in the game and looked comfortable doing it. At that point I had to get ready to walk the dog, and perfect timing too as Estrellas won.
If Lake’s progress in the DWL is legitimate and he shows he can play a competent center field, then maybe the Cubs won’t need to deal from depth for a center fielder. The Cubs probably prefer a veteran for stability and leadership, but with so many capable youngsters and a pretty good free agent crop barring extensions after the 2015 season, maybe they don’t need to look outside the organization after all. That would require a ton of confidence in the system, and I don’t think that’s too hard to fathom.