By Robert Dominguez
The Dominican Republic added to its status as the Yankees of the Caribbean Series — with a little positive mojo from Red Sox icon Big Papi — by winning its 20th title in the tournament’s 62-year history with a dominating 9-3 victory over Venezuela.
It was the first-ever title for the Toros del Este from La Romana, which finished the Series held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, with a dominating 6-1 record. Venezuela’s Cardenales de Lara was overmatched from the start of the Feb. 7 final played at Hiram Bithorn Stadium.
The Caribbean Series, which ran Feb. 1 to Feb. 6, pitted the best teams from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia and Panama. Colombia joined the round-robin tournament for the first time as a last-minute replacement for the Cuba team, which was forced to miss the games due to visa problems.
The Dominican Republic, which last won the Series in 2012 with the Leones del Escogido, was in first place, followed by Venezuela (5-2), Mexico (4-2), Puerto Rico (2-4), Panama (1-4) and Colombia (0-5).
While the Series is a showcase for talent from the Caribbean and Latin America — many of them MLB players and minor leaguers — it was Toros first baseman Peter O’Brien, an American from Miami and four-year MLB veteran, who took MVP honors with a .348 average, one home run and three RBI.
Among the guests of honor at the start of games throughout the week was David “Big Papi” Ortiz, the Boston great who gave his homeland a touch of luck.
Last year’s tournament champion was Panama’s Los Toros de Herrera, which beat Cuba’s Leñadores de las Tunas in the final played in Panama City.
Click the arrows in the photo above for a look at the action from the 2020 Caribbean Series.