No other nation on Earth outside the US produces as many MLB players as the Dominican Republic. This small Caribbean nation continues to dominate the American pastime. Baseball is a religion here. It’s also a ticket out of poverty. Its hope can be transformative. More and more young kids are entering ‘programs’ at early ages where they live with up to fifty other players all under the guise of a ‘boss’. They sleep on rotten mattresses and train up to 8 hours a day all with the goal of signing a professional contract. It’s a story of how a game has become big business in a poor country where signing a big league contract can transform a family’s life trajectory.
Michael Hanson is a Seattle-based photographer represented by National Geographic Creative. His awards include PDN30, America’s Top Travel Photographers, and Images of the Year for Portraiture, along with others from National Geographic, PDN, Banff, Rangefinder, FYI Folio, American Advertising Federation.
Michael’s photography career began after playing Minor League Baseball for the Atlanta Braves. He completed his first book, a project documenting urban farming in America, titled Breaking Through Concrete in 2010 and recently finished his first documentary film, Who Owns Water, on a river in his native South. Michael’s fine art work is in the permanent archive at the Sir Elton John Collection.