Even with MLB’s regular season having come to an end, and in the middle of another postseason that will see a World Series champion crowned in roughly three weeks, another season of exciting baseball is just getting started– perhaps with its own version of Shohei Ohtani!
For the second straight year, the Dominican Winter League, or LIDOM, will be available via streaming on MLB.TV starting with Opening Day on Saturday.
• Full MLB.TV broadcast schedule for LIDOM games
The six-team circuit, with teams in the cities of Santo Domingo (Tigres del Licey, Leones del Escogido), Santiago (Águilas Cibaeñas), San Pedro de Macorís (Estrellas Orientales), San Francisco de Macorís (Gigantes del Cibao) and La Romana (Toros del Este) will play a 50-game regular season, followed by a month-long round robin semifinal playoff, and finally a best-of-seven championship series in January. The winner will go on to represent the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean Series in Venezuela against the champions of the Venezuelan, Mexican Pacific, Puerto Rican, Panamanian, Cuban and Curaçaoan leagues.
LIDOM games will be available to all MLB.TV subscribers (broadcast in Spanish) on all supported devices worldwide. Fans will be able to watch both the Dominican Winter League regular season and postseason.
Saturday's opening slate features a trio of games on MLB.TV:
• 5 p.m. ET — Licey vs Escogido
• 7 p.m. ET — Estrellas vs Toros
• 8 p.m. ET — Águilas vs Gigantes
In a highly competitive Dominican League with name recognition across its rosters, Ronald Guzmán, a veteran of parts of five Major League seasons with the Rangers and Yankees, could be one of the biggest attractions. After making his debut as a pitcher for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Yankees) last month, Guzmán — primarily a first baseman in his professional career — could continue as a two-way player on the Gigantes del Cibao. “It’s a probability” Jesús Mejía, the Gigantes’ GM, said recently.
Whether it’s a young player looking to refine his game — such as Red Sox No. 2 prospect Triston Casas (Escogido), Cubs No. 9 prospect Alexander Canario (Águilas), or Blue Jays fireballing starter Nate Pearson (Licey) this year, in the same manner as Mets No. 6 prospect Ronny Mauricio did last season on Licey, as well as Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Julio Rodríguez the year before with Escogido — or a veteran looking to get in a few swings and/or fulfill a lifelong dream — such as Albert Pujols last season, also on Escogido — the Dominican League promises something different every night, but with one common denominator: competitive baseball.
“It’s a league of competition,” said Junior Noboa, commissioner of baseball in the D.R., vice president of Latin American operations for the D-backs and also a former player, manager and GM on multiple winter teams in the country. “There’s a lot of passion among fans and their teams. This is about winning.”
This year, there will once again be familiar names on the field and in the dugout. Yoenis Céspedes, more than two years removed from his most recent MLB game, will be in his second stint with the Águilas, a team that will also feature former World Series champions Melky Cabrera and Juan Pérez.
Veterans such as Julio Teherán, Mike Fiers and Danny Santana are expected to suit up for the Toros, while Iván Nova and José “Jumbo” Díaz will be on the mound for Escogido and the Gigantes, respectively.
The managers include former AL Rookie of the Year Pat Listach (Toros), former Major League shortstop José Offerman (Licey), Fernando Tatis Sr. (Estrellas) and D-backs coach Luis “Pipe” Urueta (Gigantes), who will be leading the defending league champions once again this season.
They, along with Pedro López (Escogido) and José Leger (Águilas), will be managing in a league not as focused on player development — which is the case with the Arizona Fall League, taking place right now in the desert — as it is on winning, with manager turnover commonplace due to the passionate and often times demanding fan bases making themselves heard from the stands on a nightly basis, along with the music and pageantry always present in winter baseball.
“In the stands every day, you’ve got 6,000, 7,000 managers,” said Noboa, who also played parts of eight Major League seasons as an infielder for Cleveland, the Angels, Montreal, the Mets, Oakland and Pittsburgh. “But we love that. We know that’s part of the league, and we respect it. That’s part of what makes it interesting. It’s truly special. And I’d never want that to change — that passion among the fans.”
Those passions also fuel some of the best rivalries in winter ball. The biggest in the D.R. is between Licey and Águilas, each of which has won 22 championships, tied for the most in league history. The Águilas of Santiago also vie with the Gigantes of San Francisco de Macorís for supremacy of the Cibao region of the country. Then there is the battle of Santo Domingo between Licey and Escogido, who share the capital city’s Estadio Quisqueya Juan Marichal.
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And speaking of Marichal, the Dominican League is rich in history. Whether it’s Marichal bringing his Hall of Fame talent to the circuit every year in the 1960’s and '70’s, or Pedro Martínez, Vladimir Guerrero Sr. and David Ortiz in the '90’s, or skippers such as Tommy Lasorda and Felipe Alou winning championships before their Major League managing career, winter has always been prime time in the D.R. for live, professional baseball with familiar faces.
And once again, MLB.TV has it all in 2022.
You can watch the games on the MLB app or online at MLB.com. To catch LIDOM games during the World Series, go to the "Featured on MLB.TV" section. The links to the streams will appear approximately 30 minutes prior to game time. You can find the full streaming schedule for the 2022 LIDOM season here.
The Dominican Winter League games are included as part of MLB.TV's Postseason Package, which is available for $24.99. LIDOM games will be broadcast exclusively in Spanish, and will only be live-streamed, not archived. There will be TV broadcasts, but no radio broadcasts.
2022 LIDOM games streaming on MLB.TV – MLB.com