- MP3 CD
- Verlag: Tantor Audio; Auflage: MP3 - CD. (15. April 2010)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 1400164311
- ISBN-13: 978-1400164318
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 13,5 x 1,5 x 18,8 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 1 Kundenrezension
The Eastern Stars: How Baseball Changed the Dominican Town of San Pedro de Macoris (Englisch) MP3 CD – Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Ungekürzte Ausgabe
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Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
Mark Kurlansky is the New York Times-bestselling author of many books, including The Food of a Younger Land; Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World; Salt: A World History; 1968: The Year That Rocked the World; and The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Gebundene Ausgabe.
Leseprobe. Abdruck erfolgt mit freundlicher Genehmigung der Rechteinhaber. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.
La caña triturada, como una lluvia de oro,
en chorros continuados, baja, desciende y va
allí donde la espera la cuba, para hacerla
miel, dulce miel, panal.
El sol que la atraviesa con rayo matutino,
de través, como un puro y muy terso cristal,
sugestiona, persuade, que se ha liquefacto
la misma luz solar.
The ground-up cane, ring of gold,
continuously spurting, comes down, goes down and goes
where the bucket awaits it, to make of it
Honey, sweet honey, honeycomb.
The sun shining straight through it with morning rays,
crosswise, like a pure, terse glasswork,
suggesting, persuading, that what has liquefied
Is the very light of the sun.
—Gastón Fernando Deligne, “Del Trapiche”
Like the Trace of a Kiss
It is easier to describe San Pedro de Macorís, and the unique history and cultural blend that formed it, than it is to explain the country in which it was formed. There is a strange ambivalence to the Dominican Republic. Pedro Mir, the Dominican poet laureate from San Pedro de Macorís, described his country as:
Like the trace of a kiss on a spinster
Or the daylight on rooftops.
Of the nations called the large-island Caribbean, the ones that by size should dominate the region, the Dominican Republic is the one with the least impact and the least distinct culture. The others all have poetic names: Haiti, Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and Trinidad. The Dominican Republic has a name that seems a temporary offering until a better idea comes along. Even Puerto Rico, which has the odd history of having never been an independent nation, seems to have a stronger sense of itself. The Dominican Republic, one of the first independent nations in the Caribbean, seems to struggle with its identity.
It is a country that has usually been out of step with history, left behind in the Spanish empire, left behind in the independent Caribbean; even on its own island, it is the country that isn’t Haiti. Almost as poor as Haiti but not quite, neither as tragic nor as romantic, the Dominican Republic missed the first sugar boom in the eighteenth century and came late to the second one in the nineteenth century. As with baseball, its sugar industry ran behind those of Cuba and Puerto Rico, and the Dominicans had trouble positioning themselves.
Dominicans speak Spanish, but it is not a very Spanish place. It is neither as Latino nor as African as Cuba. Dominicans have developed distinctive and celebrated music forms, but they are not as influential nor as recognized as the many forms of Cuban music or Jamaican reggae or Trinidadian calypso. It does not have the strong tradition of visual arts and folk crafts for which Haiti is known, and in fact Dominican tourist shops are filled with Haitian paintings and crafts and bad knockoffs of them. They also sell tourists Cuban cigars because Dominican ones, some of which are very good, don’t have the same cachet.
The Dominican Republic is nothing like its neighbor across the island, Haiti, which is a far more African place. But except for the Spanish language and baseball, it doesn’t very much resemble Cuba or Puerto Rico, either. Despite a long and mostly painful relationship with the United States and the fact that money shipped home by Dominicans in the United States is a major prong of the struggling economy—the third poorest in the Americas—the Dominican Republic has not become very Americanized, either. Major League Baseball is acutely aware that the Dominican ballplayers sent to the U.S. are lost in a very strange and different land.
It is tempting to say that baseball defines it, but it got the game from Cubans, Puerto Ricans, and Americans. Dominicans have excelled in the game, and in the last few decades baseball has at last become something at which Dominicans dominate—at last, something they can be known for—and this is a source of pride. From 1956—when Ozzie Virgil, from the northern Dominican town of Monte Cristi, became an infielder for the New York Giants—through 2008, 471 Dominicans played in at least one major-league game. One in six of them have come from the relatively small town of San Pedro de Macorís.
But even this celebrated accomplishment may be slightly tarnished by the fact that Cubans dominate Caribbean play and always have. It is U.S. law, which forced Cuban ballplayers to defect if they wanted to play in the U.S., that gave Dominicans their opening in baseball. In February 1962, when the United States imposed an embargo on Cuba, only six Dominicans had ever played in the major leagues.
Despite all its murky ambiguity, the Dominican Republic really is a distinct country with its own society and culture and way of doing things unlike anyplace else. This has made Dominicans love their homeland and yearn for it when they are away. It is just not very easy to articulate what it is. In the past twenty years there has been a marked growth in tourism, but it has been a style of tourism that spirits away visitors to walled-off resorts, safely away from the Dominican reality. The impression these visitors are left with is so false that the country may be even less known than it was when almost no one came.
There are Dominican characteristics. Not surprisingly, given the violent history of the Dominican Republic, there is violence in everyday Dominican life. There is domestic violence, but also the recent decline in the economy has been accompanied by a rise in street crime, especially by young men. The mayor of San Pedro, Ramón Antonio Echavaría, said street crime was the biggest problem facing his town. But also national human rights groups complained that in 2008 alone almost 500 people, most of them under the age of thirty-five, were shot and killed on the street by police, who admit to only 343 of the killings.
Despite all this, Dominicans have a sweetness to their demeanor. They smile and embrace one another far more easily than most people. Americans, trying to instill American ideas of sportsmanship, tell ballplayers in Dominican youth programs to come out and shake their opponents’ hands after a game. They come out to the field and for a brief moment begin the unnatural hand-shaking ritual but quickly begin hugging each other. That is what Dominicans do.
Dominican men are infamous for sexism. Yet women are common— though far from dominant—in the professions, especially as doctors. The image of the strong Dominican woman is celebrated—notably the three Mirabal sisters, upper-class women who resisted the Trujillo dictatorship and were murdered on their way home from visiting their husbands in prison. In fact, the founding legend of Dominican resistance was a Taino woman named Anacaona. After her husband was killed by the Spanish, Anacaona became leader of all the Tainos and was captured by the Spanish while trying to negotiate peace. The Spanish governor, Nicolás de Ovando, had her hanged.
Mothers are revered, and it is not unusual for a man to decide to use his mother’s last name rather than the traditional father’s name. In Spanish names, there are two last names, the father’s and then the mother’s. Although the father’s name is in the middle rather than the end, by tradition it is the one that is used. But Dominicans often choose their mothers’ names. An example is the slugger Ricardo Jacobo Carty. Jacobo was his father’s name and Carty his mother’s, and by Spanish tradition he would have been called either the full name or Ricardo Jacobo, but instead he always called himself Rico Carty, after his mother. There are many other... -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Gebundene Ausgabe.
This book is part history, part baseball and part Third World study. The history part traces the history of the Dominican Republic, its colonial past, its chronic tension with Haiti and its series of dictators. Getting to the more localized history of San Pedro, it follows its rise as a sugar center and, as that declined, the rising prominence of baseball. We learn about a culture drawn from around the Caribbean that drew on the traditions of the Dominican, Cuba, Haiti and British Island dotting the Sea. We read about the impact big world issue have on something as non-political as baseball. Did you, for example, ever stop to think that the U.S. Embargo of Cuba opened the door to the major leagues to Dominicans by closing it to Cuban stars?
In much of the book, Kurlansky treats us to stories of the many of the major leaguers, both great stars and those whose careers were measured in days. We read of the heroics and the antics of Juan Marichal, Joaquin Andujar, Sammy Sosa, George Bell and many others. Issue of nationality and race, white, black and Latino, are shown from the San Pedro perspective, which is much different than that of the U.S. The importance of the signing bonus and the big league salaries to the player, his family and community, is illustrated in example after example. The continued attraction of San Pedro to retired players says something about the ties of country and home. As we read of the scouts, the camps, the retired major leaguers and the eager boys who bring us the magic of summer, the reader cannot help but wonder how it is that our entertainment is dependent on this land so near and yet so different.
For any fan of baseball or the history and culture of the Caribbean, this is a good read.
Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com
Subjective statements just in Chapter 1: 1. On page 16, the author says that "Dominicans have developed distinctive and celebrated music forms, but they are not as influential nor as recognized as the many forms of Cuban music or Jamaican reggae or Trinidadian Calypso".
With all due respect, I think most Latin Americans would disagree about this comment, which is presented as fact.
Mistakes just in Chapter 1: 1. On page 21, the author lists Balboa as one of the "butchers" who conquered for Spain. Vasco Nuñez de Balboa, who found the Pacific Ocean here in my home country of Panama hardly qualifies as a butcher, and certainly is not in the same leagues, behavior wise, as Cortés and Pizarro;
2. On page 25, the author states that the invasion of the Dominican Republic "was part of a policy that went back to 1898 of securing the Caribbean for building the Panama Canal".
This is a sloppy, wrong comment. In 1898, the U.S. had not made the decision of whether it was going to build a Canal through Panama or through Nicaragua (if the author had stated that it was all part of a policy pertaining to the building of a Canal through the Central American isthmus, then he would have been right).
3. One page 31, the author states that "In 1992, for the four-hundredth anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival...".
1992 was the FIFTH-hundredth anniversary of Columbus' arrival in the Americas.
The book begins with a sense of the hardscrabble life of those living in this community. A hard life in the sugar cane fields or the mills processing sugar cane. As the sugar industry contracted, life became even harder. There was also racism, given that people from many countries from across the Caribbean came here to work in the sugar industry when it was still booming. The Dominican Republic itself was the home for many major league players, such as Juan Marichal. Still, the number of players coming from this town is striking.
The heart of this story, though, is one avenue that--by 2008--79 men had taken to escape the hardships. Major league baseball. Why did so many make it? As Jose Cano said (Page 222): "Because we don't have anything else here and we weren't tall enough to play basketball."
One of the most remarkable things about this book is the delineation of those major league players coming from this town. In 1962, the first players hit the big leagues--Amado Samuel and Manny Jiminez. Who are some of the better known players? Rico Carty, Joaquin Andujar, Alfredo Griffon, Pedro Guerrero, George Bell, Julio Franco, Tony Fernandez, Sammy Sosa, Luis Castillo, Alfonso Soriano, and Robinson Cano, among others.
There are many interesting vignettes about many of these players. For instance, George Bell's volatility is discussed.
The book is functionally written and explores an interesting story. The discussion of the economic hard times provides context for baseball as a "way out."
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