Will a worldwide draft do to baseball in the Dominican Republic what it did to Puerto Rico?
Many buscones accuse MLB of selling out Latinos to protect American players’ jobs. They note there is just one Latino on MLB’s international-talent committee—who, as the son of an MLB player, mostly grew up in America. “I feel like we’re being invaded, like it’s 1965 all over again,” says Astin Jacobo, a buscón, referring to America’s occupation of the DR. “We’re only number one in one thing, and that’s baseball. We can’t give that away.”
A group of Dominican buscones has already held anti-draft protests. They might convince MLB to set up a separate draft for foreigners with an eligibility age of 16, which would be less disruptive than extending America’s draft abroad. But stopping the draft entirely will be hard.
Many buscones talk of a strike. But they have not formed a union. Even if they do, they could not stop their players from opting to sign with MLB teams.
That leaves the government. Felipe Payano, the sports minister, has already written a letter to Bud Selig, MLB’s commissioner, expressing his opposition to a draft. He says his office is investigating whether it might violate the DR’s free-trade agreement with America. Another option would be to sue MLB for collusion under Dominican antitrust law.