no pos wow

Little League Player Who Was Caught Lying About His Age Finally Breaks Silence

ESPN / YOUTUBE

In the summer of 2001, Danny Almonte was a star of Little League World Series, a showcase for young baseball players age 12 and under. Almonte’s pitching was out of this world: he struck out an impressive 62 of 72 batters and threw a perfect game. But there was one major problem: Almonte was actually 14 years old, two years above the limit. Before anyone knew he was an overage player, Almonte was becoming a household name. When news broke about Almonte’s real age, the scandal nearly disgraced everyone around him. But what role did Almonte have in it? Was he aware of the deception or was he just a puppet in something larger? Years later, many questions remain.

In an ESPN “30 For 30” short, Danny Almonte opens up about this strange period in Little League history.

ESPN / YOUTUBE

Before his falsified age became front page news, Almonte was becoming a national superstar, especially among fans in the New York borough of the Bronx, which he represented as part of the Baby Bronx Bombers. But Almonte wasn’t really from the Bronx. Before the Little League World series tourney, he spent most of his life in the Dominican Republic.

Once the news broke, however, Amonte’s personal life became a living hell. Some say he ruined the sanctity of Little League, likening Almonte’s scandal to steroid use in the pros. As Almonte explains, in the aftermath, he wished he could go back to the Dominican Republic, back to his mom, away from the 24/7 media coverage. Because English wasn’t his first language, he was unable to defend himself, and so he relied on the adults around him, his father and uncle, the same adults who might have might have played a role in altering his birth certificate in the first place. But Almonte also knew something else: his real age.

So why would someone change his age to 12 years old? And why would Almonte go along with it?

ESPN / YOUTUBE

As ESPN speculated in 2001, reducing Almonte’s age was likely done to attract the attention of scouts, who would be particularly impressed pitching abilities, which were well above average for a 12-year-old. Baseball can provide wealth and opportunity for poor families living in the Dominican Republic, so it’s not uncommon for parents to fudge their child’s birth certificates. It’s also not very difficult, as, according to ESPN at that time, as many as 25 percent of children didn’t even have a valid birth certificate. So if a parent told you that you were 12, you assumed you were 12. As Almonte told ESPN, even though he knew his age, he kept quiet because his father told him to: “The way I was raised, if my dad says something, you gotta do it.”

As ESPN pointed out, Danny Almonte’s age was likely altered so that he, and his family, might have a chance at living the American dream. But in the end, Almonte’s life became a nightmare from which he has, in time, learned to live with. And he’s learned that life is more than baseball.

READ: She Might Be A Tiny Tot But She Is Making Big Moves In The Soccer World

Recommend this story to a friend by clicking on the share button below.

Every Time I Go Back To The Dominican Republic, I Remember The Person I Am And Want To Be

Culture

Every Time I Go Back To The Dominican Republic, I Remember The Person I Am And Want To Be

aruni_y_photography / Instagram

Anyone traveling to the Dominican Republic this summer has likely been met with the cautionary warning; “Don’t drink anything from the minibar.” Eleven tourist deaths on the island in 2019, ranging from natural causes to counterfeit alcohol consumption, have spurred FBI and State Department investigations. Though news of flight and hotel cancellations abounded, I missed my family and refused to let fear stop me from seeing them. Since I lived to tell the tale, here are a few things I learned about my father, about myself, and about the precarious paradise that keeps calling me back.

Billy Joel and Nas have interpreted the “New York state of mind,” and if you have ever visited the Dominican Republic beyond the purpose of tourism, you’ll know that there exists a Dominican state of mind too.

Credit: Dan Gold / Unsplash

Whenever I exit Las Americas or Puerto Plata airports, humidity slaps me in the face, and my Dominican mindset is immediately activated. On this island, electricity does not run 24/7. When the electricity goes, or as we say “se fue la luz,” water doesn’t run from the tap either. All that is left to do is swap your sneakers for flip-flops, and exorcise your need for immediate gratification. It takes practice, and I re-learn this lesson with each visit.

The Dominican Republic is changing fast. 

Credit: zonacolonialrd / Instagram

There is new construction everywhere you look. I sit on the balcony chatting with my father and stare across the street trying to remember how it looked before the apartment building was constructed in that space. I can see from an open doorway on the ground level that wooden boxes are being stacked, and hauled out in front of a business. I tune out my father’s voice as I focus on the shape and size of the boxes. My Spanish needs work, and I ask my father, “Papi, what does ataúd mean?” The business slogan translates to “Quality Coffins.” I think about magic realism traditions in Latin American literature, and I am reminded that so often a country like this juxtaposes disparate images and experiences in such a casual manner. I don’t think I would be able to live across the street from a constant reminder of death anywhere else but on this incongruous island.

We drive to the countryside of El Seibo for a few days.

Credit: fedoacurd/ Instagram

My father syncs his playlist and he directs my sister what song to play next. The first song is by Boy George. I watch my father sing along, and I can’t help but think about the Dominican Republic’s homophobic culture steeped in hyper-masculinity. Same-sex marriage is not recognized on the island, and members of the LGBTQ community continue to face discrimination and violence. I talk to my sister about this later that night, and she tells me small changes are coming to the island. The city of Santo Domingo hosts inclusive events like Draguéalo, where you can even sign up for a Vogue class.

Credit: Draguelao / Facebook

My father’s playlist continues and I’m struck by his selections ranging from Taylor Swift to A.I.E. (A Mwana), a song by a 1970s group called Black Blood, featuring lyrics in Swahili.

I watched this Dominican dad jam across continents, decades, cultures, languages, and race. I realize there is so much I don’t know about him, and so often we shortchange our parents’ knowledge and experience, reducing them to stereotypes and gendered tropes.

My next lesson is on staying sexy.

                                                           Unsplash/Photo by Ardian Lumi 

After a few days in the countryside, my sister and I rent a hotel room in La Zona Colonial. We ready for a night out when she looks at my outfit and asks me, “Um, is that what you’re wearing tonight?” I thought my yellow jumpsuit was poppin’. My sister pulls out a little black dress from her overnight bag and kindly suggests I wear it. The dress is tiny. It’s skimpy. It’s super short. It’s absolutely perfect. I channel my inner Chapiadora, Goddess of Sex Appeal and Free Drinks, and dance all night. 

Growing up in the 90s, I styled myself in oversized men’s clothing. It wasn’t until that one magical summer in the Dominican Republic when the heat was too oppressive to wear jeans, so I wore—gasp—a skirt. That was the first time I felt sexy, and learned the power of sex appeal. Though I wielded that power throughout my twenties, it fell away in my thirties. Wearing my sister’s LBD I realize I still have “it,” and in the Dominican Republic, sex appeal is ageless. Be careful when you come here. You may fall in love with a local, or you may just fall in love with yourself again.

The island leaves me with one last lesson.

It comes late one night, sharing a few bottles of wine with my father and sister. No hay peor ciego que el que no quiere ver—the worst blind person is the one who refuses to see. I could say the current political landscape in the U.S. reflects this willful ignorance, a refusal to see; yet it is the same human experience felt across space and time.

I come away wondering about my own blind spots.

                                                            Instagram/@rensamayoa

I board my return flight thinking up ways to combat willful ignorance at home, thinking about maintaining that flexible DR state of mind and thinking about buying a little black dress. As tourism in the Dominican Republic picks up again, and unfavorable headlines drop out of the news cycle, this changing island stands in its own plurality welcoming visitors, and offering endless opportunities to teach us something new.

READ:

This Horrifying Story Of A Woman Losing Her Hands And Legs Will Make You Think Twice About Letting Your Dog Kiss You

Fierce

This Horrifying Story Of A Woman Losing Her Hands And Legs Will Make You Think Twice About Letting Your Dog Kiss You

Westend61 / Getty Images

We all love our puppies. There’s a reason they are called man’s best friend. They are adorable, loyal and sweet little pals who only want our affection and attention. However, giving them that much-deserved affection can sometimes backfire in a life-changing way — as it did for one Ohio woman earlier this year.

After nine days in the hospital, a woman woke up to find her hands and legs amputated and the reason behind their loss was a rare infection caused by puppy kisses.

The nightmare started after the woman returned home from a vacation to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.

Twitter / @cnni

When  Marie Trainer returned from her trip, she experienced a backache and nausea that caused her to take time off of work. Soon, her temperature began fluctuating wildly — spiking and dropping sporadically. The sudden changes to her temperature and her worrisome symptoms landed her in the local emergency room on May 11.

When first admitted, Trainer was delirious and she soon fell unconscious. Doctors first suspected that the problem was some sort of tropical disease picked up from her travel to the Caribbean. However, this wasn’t the cause. It took the hospital seven days to eliminate that possibility and find the real cause of Trainer’s illness.

Trainer had contracted a rare infection from the bacteria Capnocytophaga canimorsus.

Twitter / @KXXVNewsNow

Doctors say bacteria was probably introduced into Trainer’s body when her German shepherd puppy, Taylor, licked an open cut somewhere on her body. As the infection took its course, the Ohio woman’s skin began quickly changing to a purplish-red color before progressing into full-blow gangrene in her extremities. She soon developed a blood clot that threatened Trainer’s life. The discoloration also spread to the tip of her nose, ears, and face.

While being hospitalized at Aultman Hospital in Canton, Ohio, Trainer was treated by Dr. Margaret Kobe, the medical director of infectious disease. Kobe shared with CNN the process of identifying and treating Trainer’s illness.

“It was difficult to identify, We’re kind of the detectives,” Kobe explained. “We went through all these diagnoses until we could narrow things down. She didn’t lose parts of her face. But her extremities is what she had to have surgery on. This is off the scale, one of the worst cases we have seen in terms of how ill people become with infections. She was close to death.”

However, Trainer’s family wanted to get a second opinion before they made the life-changing decision to amputate.

Twitter / @WVTM13

Hoping to save Trainer’s legs and hands, her family reached out to see if they would get a less severe diagnosis. However, the damage was too extensive and had already corrupted the tissue in her extremities. Doctors confirmed the diagnosis of Capnocytophaga through the use of blood tests and cultures.

Trainer’s family then gave permission for her treatments. Trainer has now had eight surgeries and will soon be fitted for prostheses on her arms and legs. Gina Premier, Trainer’s step-daughter and a nurse at the same hospital she was treated at, spoke with CNN about the prognosis

“That was a pretty hard pill for us to all swallow,” she admitted. “To say she was fine a couple days ago on vacation and now she’s actively getting worse by the minute and now her hands and feet aren’t alive, like this doesn’t happen, it’s 2019.”

While this is a cautionary tale for all dog-owners, Trainer’s cause is a rare one.

Twitter / @ConLaGenteRos

This news has us seriously rethinking how we show our pups affection and vice versa. According to the Center for Disease Control, the bacteria is present in as many as 74% of dogs. However, most people who come into contact with infected dogs and cats don’t get sick themselves. The bacteria poses a greater risk to people with weakened immune systems, the elderly and children. Once contracted, symptoms of the infection usually manifest in three to five days. Three in ten of those who develop a severe infection will die because of Capnocytophaga.

Though changed forever, Trainer is grateful to still be living and is ready to move on to the next chapter of her life.

Twitter / @beshade1977

Though the bacteria was introduced via one of her dogs, Trainer has no intention of giving her pups away. In fact, she was eager to see them while she was still hospitalized. She asked doctors if her two furry friends could visit and they were happy to accommodate the request.

“They brought them here two times at the hospital so I can see them and that just put the biggest smile on my face,” Trainer told CNN.

It just goes to show that nothing can stop puppy love — not even a major bacterial infection.

Paid Promoted Stories