Dominican Field of Dreams
Angelina, Dominican Republic – Standing out there in the 10-foot sugar cane near Angelina are almost 3,250 career victories in NCAA major college baseball.
Every November, a group of current and former baseball players and coaches travel to the Dominican Republic with SCORE International to conduct free baseball clinics amid the poverty of the bateys and sugar cane villages.
Many are current and former professional players, such as the legendary Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte of the New York Yankees, Hall of Famer Gary Carter of the New York Mets and big-name major leaguers like Tony Fernandez, Nelson Cruz and Andy Benes.
Others are current and former college coaches, including Hall of Famers like Ron Polk (Georgia and Mississippi State) and Mark Johnson (Texas A&M and Sam Houston State).
One day last November, as we bounced in our little bus along the muddy roads lined with sugar cane, we decided to have a little fun. We realized we had five current or former NCAA Division 1 baseball coaches and two assistant coaches in our group alone.
What better way to memorialize this trip than to coax the coaches into the cane for a photo?
From left to right, we have Dan McDonnell, head coach at Louisville (217 career victories); Jeremy Sheetinger, assistant coach at St. Joseph’s College; Rich Maloney, head coach at Michigan (575 career victories); Ron Polk, former head coach at Georgia and Mississippi State (1,373 career victories); Keith Madison, former head coach at Kentucky (737 career victories), Matt Husted, assistant coach at Michigan, and Spanky McFarland, head coach at James Madison (445 career victories).
Think about it. There are 3,247 career victories standing out there in the sugar cane.