Baseball Or Bust In The D.R.

Baseball Or Bust In The D.R.

The gorgeous header picture on our web page is a goat farm in the Dominican Republic; however, underneath that beautiful blue sky and green canopy is a country riddled by poverty.

According to RualPovertyPortal.org, low agricultural productivity is a crucial factor in rural D.R.poverty. Although technology is available and is known to some farmers, lack of access to financial resources and outreach systems prevent farmers from adopting the technologies they need to improve their production and their incomes.

This is why Reverse The Curse is working tirelessly to provide locals with goat breeding facilities, vegetable gardens, chicken farms and most importantly, the technical training to start and run their own businesses.

Meanwhile, poverty certainly plays a factor as to why the D.R. has become a baseball factory for Major League baseball talent; with few opportunities in this impoverished land, the game serves as a glimmer of hope for some to sign lucrative major-league contracts, often reaching into the millions of dollars.

There are currently more than 130 Dominican-born players in professional baseball in North America–a list that continues to grow. The capital city of Santo Domingo alone represents nearly 20 current players on major league rosters–the Cubs’ Arismendy Alcantara being one of them (the Cubs have had as many as eight players from the D. R. on the roster in 2014).

It’s not just that Dominican kids enjoy playing baseball, they need to play baseball, and that’s why the Cubs, among other Major League organizations, have built the largest baseball academy to develop players in the Dominican–just outside Santo Domingo, no less.

But the real truth of the matter is despite the growth of major league talent, ballplayers are but a tiny sliver of the 4 million Dominicans mired in poverty. That’s not to say farming ballplayers is insignificant, but what’s to be done about Dominicans who can’t turn-two?

Appreciating The Grind

The Cubs are in the midst of playing 33 games in 34 days. It’s a reminder as to why the Major League schedule is referred to as a marathon season–162 games in roughly 180 days.

Furthermore, it explains why the month of August is known as the Dog Days of summer. Teams have more than 100 games in the books; players’ bodies are battered and beaten; the weather is dry and hot; and there’s still 50-plus games to go. It’s a grind.

But August is a key month in the pennant races, a time for the contenders to separate themselves from the pretenders: Good teams keep poised, remain focused and drive towards postseason baseball while lesser teams loosen their guard and succumb to the temptation to mail in the remainder of the campaign.

We’ve all experienced our own dog days, a time when the mere thought of taking an off-day is pure fantasy: the crush of a holiday sales season, moving into a new home or caring for a sick family member, etc. And it’s during our dog days we can understandably lose focus, make costly mistakes or simply choose to mail in our own season. The excuses are plentiful, if not justifiable.

In the Reverse The Curse office hangs a framed speech by the great Vince Lombardi, who reminds us winning is a habit–whether we’re in the Dog Days or the Golden Days. When we look at that picture hanging on the wall it’s our reminder to keep grinding–especially when it’s the toughest of times and we’re dog tired.

If you don’t already keep a ‘dog days’ reminder in your own workspace, make it a priority to get one; you’ll need it soon enough.

“Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while; you don’t do things right once in a while; you do them right all of the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing … And in truth, I’ve never known a man worth his salt who in the long run, deep down in his heart, didn’t appreciate the grind, the discipline. There is something in good men that really yearns for discipline and the harsh reality of head to head combat.”

-Vince Lombardi

Avoiding The Pitfall Of A Sunk Cost

Growing a small business or non-profit requires investing money back into the work space. As hard work pays off the needs of the business grow: more employees, lager office space, technology upgrades–all good problems to have at the end of the day.

But the haste to spend-money-to-make-money can cause panicked, if well intentioned, decision making. More often than not, this causes a poor investment that hamstrings the company. Maybe it’s overspending for a fancy new phone system that does little, if anything, to improve sales; or revamping your website into a fresh, new look that turns out less user-friendly than before.

Most small business and non-profits are guilty at one time or another of making an ill-advised investment to help improve the company. Fortunately, however, one such move typically fails to deliver a death blow.

Rather, what ends up sinking the ship is the inability (or refusal) to admit to the mistake, correct course and write the investment off as a sunk cost. Instead of stuffing the coffers to replace your bogus phone system or ineffective new website, you lead your company forward making due with a systems that does more to hurt the bottom line than help it. Game. Over.

Coming to turns with a poor investment is obviously a tough pill to swallow. How could I be so careless? Why did I panic? Smart entrepreneurs and business people learn from the mistake by making more tempered and measured decisions, especially to correct unfortunate errors–you acknowledge the ship is taking on water, and you bail out the water to stay afloat.

In theory, investing back into your company would seem to come without pitfalls, but any entrepreneur or growing business knows better. So maybe we should cut our beloved Cubs some slack for panicking to sign Edwin Jackson to that hefty 4-year, $52M deal. Just saying.