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Baseball is everything in the Dominican Republic. The game is played by nearly every young boy and is often considered the only way off the island to achieve fame and fortune. Today, there are more than 50 players from the Dominican Republican who made it to the United States and are holding spots on Major League rosters.
Few of them, with the exception of Albert Pujols, are bigger than Robinson Cano. The New York Yankees second baseman has achieved superstar status thanks, in large part, to learning how to play the game in his native country under the tutelage of his father Jose, a former Major League player himself.
To help others get an understanding of just how the game is played in the Dominican Republic, the Canos have put together the "Cano Baseball Experience," something area players can learn about at in Fairfield.
"They chose our facility because they liked the professionalism of our staff and the way we understand the game," Mike Porzio, a former Major League pitcher and the owner/manager of the facility, said. "They were also impressed with how we taught young players the game. The Clubhouse will be the exclusive facility for the Cano Baseball Experience in Connecticut and we're proud of that."
The elder Cano is expected to hold a one-day camp at The Clubhouse on June 26. Batting instruction will be offered, but it will also feature the "Dominican Way" of playing baseball.
"It will go beyond baseball and the mechanics of hitting," Porzio, who played for the Chicago White Sox during his Major League career, said. "Players there have to hit their way off the island, but the "Cano Baseball Experience" will try to show players who attend the camp the true love of the game that players in the Dominican have and what it takes to be a professional."
For those who really want to get a taste of the "Cano Baseball Experience," an eight-week camp will be held in the Dominican Republic from July 1 to September 1, but attending the one-day camp at The Clubhouse will be the next best thing to flying south and playing baseball on the island.
"We are really looking forward to it," said Porzio. "I think players will get an appreciation of how players in the Dominican are taught how to play baseball and the real passion they have for the game."
Porzio said that the elder Cano will be making periodic visits to the facility throughout the year and that Robinson is expected to make his way to Fairfield after the baseball season is over.