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Puerto Rico: Isla De Encanto (The Enchanted Island)

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PUERTO RICO: THE ENCHANTED ISLE...
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ROBERTO CLEMENTE'S HOME: FROM CLEMENTE STADIUM TO THE KIDS SPORTS PARK THAT WAS HIS DREAM

The Enchanted Isle doesn’t produce as many Major League Baseball ballplayers in the Caribbean as the Dominican Republic but maybe that’s because it prefers to focus on quality, not quantity. You can learn more about baseball’s rich history in Puerto Rico in World in a Ballpark: Baseball Goes Global, which is available for purchase at the Buy Joe's Guides page.

It was on these fields that talent blossomed. Jose Valentin and Carlos Beltran in the working class city of Manati. Juan Gonzalez and Carlos Delgado in the northwest towns of Arecibo and Aguadilla, respectively. Jose Vidro in the tuna-port town of Mayaguez on the southwestern coast. Javy Lopez, Ricky Ledee, Javier Vasquez and others in the island’s second largest city of Ponce. And the likes of Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, Ivan Rodriguez, Mike Lowell and Bengie Molina in and around the island’s largest city of San Juan.

Drive across this magnificent island over a week’s time and you will find one constant in almost every town: a lovely-manicured amateur ballpark that is the proving ground for future major leaguers and the sight of Puerto’s Rico summer league.

While Puerto Rico's winter leagues have suffered from gross mismanagement the past decade resulting in dwindling attendance and enthusiasm, the light at the end of the tunnel has been the proving grounds: the amateur leagues, which invoke a real sense of pride for small towns across this dynamic and breathtaking island. If you want to view a sample of the guide and how easy the guide works, visit the MLB Ballpark Trips page.

We also hope you enjoy this collage of beisbol – Puerto Rican style!

WELCOME TO BEISBOL ON THE ENCHANTED ISLE...
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...FROM THE TUNA-PORT TOWN OF MAYAGUEZ TO HERALDED HIRAM BITHORN STADIUM OUTSIDE SAN JUAN (right)

 

THE ISLAND'S HIDDEN GEMS: QUAINT AMATEUR BALLPARKS
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TWO OF THE BEST: (above left) GURABO'S VARO ROLDAN AND MAUNABO'S ROSARIO PAOLI ON THE SOUTH COAST

PUERTO RICO'S WINTER LEAGUE: SNOOZER
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HOPE?: CARLOS BAERGA'S TEAM TRIED TO WIN BACK FANS, AS DID THE CRAZY INDIAN IN MAYAGUEZ

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ISLAND'S SUMMER LEAGUE: THEIR BEST AMATEURS
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HISTORICAL PRESERVATION RULES: YABUCOA'S TOROS (above left) AND LUIS MARQUEZ STATUE IN AGUADILLA

BIRTHPLACE OF THE GREAT ONE; WHERE ANOTHER GREW
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STATUES OF CLEMENTE GRACE THE ISLAND; FUTURE HALL-OF-FAMER TONY GWYNN PLAYED WINTER BALL EARLY ON

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