Monday, June 28, 2010

The San Diego Padres' DR Academy

By Roberto Castro (SMBA '11)

As a current employee of the San Diego Padres, I anxiously awaited our trip to the Padres' Academy to see for myself how my employer’s efforts had shaped the small beach town of Najayo. On the way there, our crafty bus driver navigated through a humble village that showed no signs of baseball. Then, like an oasis, the Padres' facility stood before our eyes.

At first, it looked as if we were driving up to a five star resort, but the three baseball fields showed us that it was so much more. The current crop of Padres' Latin signees were playing a game against the Baltimore Orioles' farmhands. A crowd of about 200 natives cheered the Padres to victory as 33 students from SDSU joined them enthusiastically. Following the game, we were greeted by three staff members, Cesar, Jesus and Veronica. They gave a fantastic tour of the academy, which included the clubhouse, offices, weight room, and dining hall.

Over the next three days, we were able to enjoy their accommodations (game rooms, sleeping quarters and offices) as well as breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The staff couldn’t have been any friendlier and the facility was definitely first-class. What impressed me the most was that the Padres had a significantly positive effect on the citizens of Najayo, as well as the players who were staying there. They had nothing but positive things to say and a few players commented on how they chose to sign with the Padres because of the Academy. Personally, I had a wonderful experience and I was left with a strong sense of pride knowing that the Padres made it all happen.

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