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WEDNESDAY

San Pedro de Marcois is an industrial city located along the Dominican Republic’s southeastern coast, less than 100 kilometers from that nation’s capital, Santo Domingo. Its historic exports include sugar and baseball players: Among others, Cubs rightfielder Sammy Sosa and an inordinate number of professional middle-infielders are proud to call this “cradle of shortstops” home. As a whole, the eastern half of Hispaniola had at one point supplied more than a third of all major-league ballplayers not born in the United States. As current Expos General Manager Omar Minaya said to author Tim Wendel: “In my country, the dreams about baseball are as strong as they used to be in America.” It’s a sentiment that’s no doubt been stoked by the many baseball academies opened by professional clubs in the Dominican Republic. There, young hopefuls—some of whom are recruited when they are as young as 10—get regular meals, courses in English, and a chance to be labeled the next Pedro Martinez or Miguel Tejada. But much has been made of this system’s exploitive nature: Arturo J. Marcano Guevara and David P. Fidler’s 2003 book Stealing Lives examined the subject and called attention to violations of human rights and labor standards by Major League Baseball in its practices in Latin America. Wendel’s latest, The New Face of Baseball: The One-Hundred-Year Rise and Triumph of Latinos in America’s Favorite Sport, contains some neat stories—a contract offer made to Fidel Castro to pitch for the then-Washington organization among them—and a lot of detailed history, but not enough criticism of a recruiting method in dire need of change. Wendel reads at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 7, at Olsson’s Books & Records, 2111 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. Free. (703) 525-4227. (Mike Kanin)