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When A Game Is More Than A Game

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Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic have a baseball rivalry like the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. With so many Dominicans living in Puerto Rico and the Dominican community growing rapidly in places like New York where Puerto Ricans were once the overwhelming majority, the rivalry has taken on more meaning.

Thus a baseball game between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic is more than just a game.

It's all good and competitive, and both countries have a genuine love for each other that dates back hundreds of years. Puerto Rican revolutionary, educator, philosopher, intellectual, lawyer and sociologist, Eugenio Maria De Hostos -- who fought for our islands independence from Spain -- is adored in the Dominican island so much for being a catalyst to the country's educational system.

Many Dominicans might believe Hostos is Dominican, as he is buried there, refusing to have his body laid to rest in a country that was not yet "free," as he stated before his passing.

The bond between these two Caribbean loving baseball islands was seen in the last World Baseball Cup when Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic made it to the finals and both teams were cheering each other when they played against other teams. The respect that they gave each other in the final game where the Dominican Republic won was heartfelt, and a lesson to how rivalries can be loving.

Therefore, the first day of baseball action in this year's Caribbean Series saw this rivalry come to life again when they faced each other in a baseball duel that lasted four hours and six minutes. This marathon of a game started in the first inning when Puerto Ricans scored first with a solo homer by third baseman Irving Falu (2-4, 1R, HR and 1 RBI).

However, just like in a rival boxing match, the Dominicans were quick to hit back, scoring two in the bottom of that same inning, another in the second, two more in the third and another in the fourth to take a lead of safe 6-1 to a counted on victory.

However, Puerto Rico manager by Carlos Baerga (1992 LatinoMVP) guided his team for a come-from-behind win to defeat Dominican Republic 7-6, in the 10th inning.

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