I thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Astros academy. Up until I read the chapter assigned to us by April in Klein’s book I didn’t know anything about the history of the MLB academies in the DR. To see it in person was extremely eye-opening. The facility itself was pretty nice. I personally took note of the weight room and some of the exercise routines the guys do in the weight room as well as their pre-workout routine, which is done in English to my surprise. About 20 players are assigned to come in and workout with the strength and conditioning coach several times a week. I’d prefer 5-8 players in one session just to ensure they have proper form and technique. That way when they get to the U.S. they at least know the proper way to exercise. One of the most interesting things we were told is that these guys have a rigorous schedule. They have to be at the academy at 6 am, eat breakfast, stretch, have a light practice, play a game, shower, eat lunch and then go to class. That’s very intense schedule for anyone, let alone a teenage boy who needs adequate rest and sleep in order to grow and be healthy. Most of these kids haven’t been to school in six to eight years because they dropped out to play baseball. Now they’ve signed a professional contract or are in the process of getting signed and their employer want them to sit through school after a long day. How can you instill that motivation in them? How can you convey to them that an education is just as important as playing baseball? I hope in the next coming weeks I will learn about the impact MLB has on the path these players take from the Dominican Republic to the big league.