Dec. 20, 2012

Day 7

Day 5

Day 4

Day 3

Days 1 & 2

Not in Kansas Any More


The Kansas Jayhawks are spending eight days in the Dominican Republic. Kansas will play eight games during their trip, mixing in charitable efforts along the way. Head coach Ritch Price (pictured below) will check in each day with thoughts on the journey.


(Photo by Jeff Jacobsen/KAI)


Day 6 – Thursday


It was a great day at the yard! I had a chance to visit with John Mirabelli, the Assistant General Manager of the Cleveland Indians, before the ballgame. He told me that the Indians won the Dominican Summer League down here and that they’ve saved some of their best arms for this week against us.


I can’t tell you how impressed I was with Gabriel Vizcaino, who pitched against us yesterday, and the number of outstanding guys they threw at us today. It helps us out, because when you play in the Big 12 Conference and the average pitcher’s velocity is 90 mph, that’s what our guys need to see. They need to see those power arms to help us develop to be able to play in the spring in our great conference.


With that being said, I thought some great things happened today. Per international baseball tradition, before the game yesterday, we presented the Indians players with our game hats before the game. Today, Ramon Pena, the Director of the Dominican Academy, had their players present our players with Cleveland Indians game hats before the game. That’s a great tradition when teams from two different countries play each other and it got the day off to a great start and obviously it ended up being a fabulous win for us.


I was really pleased with our pitching. Tyler Watson struggled with his command, but he managed to pitch three quality innings for us. It was big for him after being out nearly all of the last month before the trip with a staph infection. We also had good performances from Colin Toalson and Robert Kahana, who will both play big roles on our team this spring.


One of the highlights of the day for me happened before the ballgame. On Monday, the team visited an orphanage in San Pedro de Macoris. It was a really great experience for our players, but I didn’t know how great until today. One of our senior captains, Jordan Dreiling, came up to me before the game and told me that the team got together and decided that it wants to sponsor a kid in that orphanage and that they are all planning to pitch in $10 each to get it done. I thought it was a great gesture on our players’ part to sponsor one of the kids we visited earlier in the week.


Then, when you didn’t think it could get any better, we finished the day by playing a game at a city park in Boca Chica, which is a few blocks away from where we are staying. The park itself has to be about 150 years old. The stadium is beyond belief. Kids that grow up playing baseball in the United States would never believe that teams use a field like this, but it was a wonderful experience.


Just playing baseball on Dec. 20 is a great experience for us, especially when I looked at the weather forecast this morning and saw that Lawrence, Kan., got hit with a snowstorm last night and a lot of schools and local businesses are closed for the day. It definitely makes you think of how lucky we are that we got to make this trip and play both the Cleveland Indians and the Kansas City Royals and some of their best prospects. It was 26 degrees in Lawrence, Kan., today; it was 86 in the Dominican Republic and the sun was definitely shining on the Jayhawks today!