For Americans, baseball is the sport with the largest fan base. For Dominicans, pelota is more than a sport. It is the sport with the most fans and practitioners in the Dominican Republic. Pelota is a sport that is taught in schools in the Dominican Republic from a very young age. All locals know how to play it. Visitors and tourists also want to take part in this experience during their trips to Santo Domingo.
Pelota in a nutshell
Pelota is a sport that was imported to Cuba by Cuban brothers Ignacio and Ubaldo in 1886. This type of sport is like baseball in America which has more fans. Pelota is played in teams like American baseball, but as only been popular after the arrival of the Americans in Dominican Republic. Since then, it has become an emblematic sport on the island. It is considered as the American baseball in the hearts of the Dominicans. In 1955, the Dominican Pelota League was created and has become part of the American Baseball League. As pelota and baseball are two similar sports in two different countries, anyone who knows how to play the latter must also know how to play the former.
What is pelota like in everyday Dominican life?
If you want to adapt to Dominican life, the best way is to attend a pelota league game. Professional matches take place from October to January and playoffs are held in December which is the round-robin. The end of the pelota playoffs heralds the arrival of the Caribbean series. During this competition, teams from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic compete against each other. To purchase tickets to see the playoffs and various matches, you should visit the league’s official website.
The iconic stadiums of the pelota
As pelota is an emblematic sport on the island, several stadiums are worth a visit when in the area. The stadiums are emblematic places that have marked the pelota in the Dominican Republic. You can visit the famous Juan Marichal stadium in Santo Domingo. Other stadiums are also very attractive like the Cibao stadium in Santiago and the Tetelo Vargas stadium located in San Pedro, the latter being the home ground of the famous team Las Estrellas Orientales.