Bangor Native Helps Young Dominican Baseball Players
"The poverty is beyond anything that exists in this country," said Mosseau. "One in every 50 kids can afford a glove. They make gloves out of cardboard and bats out of tree limbs."
- He also said lawn mowers are scarce, so during the rainy season, farmers will take their livestock to the baseball field where they will "eat the grass down to a reasonable height."
"Then we’ll hire people with machetes who will crouch down in a catcher’s position and cut the grass," said Mosseau, who noted that some of the fields there are "hideous."
Somewhere in the Dominican Republic, you’ll find youngsters running around wearing Garland Street Middle School baseball uniforms.
When the Bangor middle school had its name changed to William S. Cohen Middle School in honor of the Bangor native and former Secretary of Defense, it didn’t need the Garland Street uniforms any more.
Enter Tom Mosseau.
Mosseau had played baseball in the Dominican Republic and it proved to be a life-changing experience for him.
"It’s amazing. People have so little, but they have great spirit and energy. They love the game of baseball," said Mosseau, who lives in Monroe. "And it is glaringly obvious that they have athletic talent over there.
"They are fabulously talented. There are over 100 Dominicans [in the majors] and that’s amazing considering the size of their country and the poverty. Every little town has a baseball diamond even though there might be a palm tree in the middle of center field."
They play year-round and have some topflight winter leagues.
"It’s the national focus, the national pastime," said Mosseau. "Pedro [New York Mets and former Boston Red Sox ace righthander Pedro Martinez] is more important than the president of the country and they both know it."
But the poverty also left a lasting impression on him and he decided he would try to solicit baseball equipment for the Dominican people.
That was approximately 20 years ago."
From the article in Bangor Daily News, 3/15/07, by Larry Mahony
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