By Jon Weisman
In a recent piece for Dodger Insider magazine by Bob Harkins, we look at the extra steps the Dodgers are taking to ease transition of international players into the organization. An excerpt:
… The Dodgers are aggressive about helping their international signees as soon as they arrive at their academy in the Dominican Republic, Campo Las Palmas, and also every step of the way as they move into the minor leagues.
The education efforts go well beyond English lessons, as some players, typically ages 16-18 when they arrive, haven’t attended school since they were 10. They live and breathe baseball, but there is much to learn before suddenly being thrust into the American culture.
“These guys are developing life skills beyond just the cultural acclimation part,” Dodger senior manager of player development Matt McGrath said. “For us, it’s as much developing them as men as it is culturally or language-wise.
“We’re trying to make them stronger men, give them the ability to communicate across languages with teammates. That makes everybody better. That’s the ultimate goal of what we’re trying to do.” …
Harkins begins the story by talking with Juan Castro, whom the Dodgers first signed 25 years ago, to illustrate the evolution from then to now.
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Beginning this year, the Dodgers merged their previously separate Playbill and Dodger Insider magazines into one publication (at least 80 pages per issue) with a new edition available each homestand plus one in October, 13 issues total. It is distributed at auto gates (one per vehicle) and via Fan Services for those who use alternate transportation. Dodger Insider magazine includes news, features, analysis, photos, games, stadium information and more. Fans who wish to subscribe for 2017 can do so at dodgers.com/magazine.