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LIDOM: Aguilas, Tigres Will Meet at Citi Field in November; Tickets On Sale Sept. 26

 Leif Skodnick  |    Sep 15th, 2023 8:42am EDT

A general view outside Citi Field on June 25, 2016 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)

By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network

NEW YORK, N.Y. – The three-game exhibition series between the Tigres del Licey and the Aguilas Cibaenas is officially scheduled for November 10-12, officials announced Thursday at a press conference at Citi Field prior to the New York Mets home game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. 

The event, billed as “Titanes del Caribe,” will pay homage to the first Dominican-born player to ever play in Major League Baseball, Ozzie Virgil Sr., who made his debut on September 23, 1956 for the New York Giants and was a long-time coach in the Major Leagues. Virgil, 91, currently resides in Monte Cristi in the northwest region of the Dominican Republic, and is also the father of All-Star former Major League catcher Ozzie Virgil Jr., who played in 10 seasons in the Major Leagues. 

“The first step we want to grow the game of baseball for us coming to New York is a big part of it and it’s being able to grow the game here that’s number one,” Vice President Winston Llenas of LIga de Béisbol de la República Dominicana told World Baseball Network. His comments were translated from Spanish to English.

Fans can purchase tickets on the New York Mets website starting on Tuesday, September 26. 

General Consul of the Dominican Republic Eligio Jaquez, President of Aguilas Cibaenas Victor Garcia, and Vice President Miguel Guerra of Tigres del Licey were also in attendance at the press conference to announce the November event. 

The three-game exhibition series was officially agreed on July 26 at the National Palace in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, with LIDOM President Vitelio Mejía and the President of the Dominican Republic Luis Abinader in attendance. The games will not count toward the LIDOM regular season standings. 

From the South Bronx to Washington Heights along with other neighborhoods throughout New York City, the Dominican Republic community will have a lot to cheer for when both teams from the biggest cities in the country, Santiago, home of the Aguilas Cibaenas, and the nation’s capital, Santo Domingo, home of the Tigres del Licey, take the field in November and bring international baseball to New York. 

“This is a growing appetite for the United States consumer in terms of what winter ball represents, and the type of baseball that we play,” Guerra said. “There is growing interest for the Caribbean Series and for our type of baseball to able to feel that energy and the passion that these players play and it’s very important also on why we ant to do this type of events”.

Dominican Republic President Luis Abinader will throw out the ceremonial first pitch in one of the three games.  

Schedule changes will be made by LIDOM officials so the Tigres and Aguilas can play in New York that weekend. The Tigres were supposed to play the Estrellas Orientales on the road in San Pedro de Macoris on November 10, and the Aguilas were scheduled to face the Leones del Escogido in Santo Domingo. 

On November 11, Aguilas was scheduled to play Gigantes del Cibao in San Francisco de Macoris, and the Tigres were scheduled to play against their inter-city rival, the Leones del Escogido, at Estadio Quisqueya Juan Marichal. On November 12, the Tigres were scheduled to be the home team against Leones del Escogido in Santo Domingo, while the Águilas were going to play Gigantes del Cibao at home in Santiago. Those games will be rescheduled for a later date prior to the beginning of the league’s round robin playoff in late December.

The three-game series at Citi Field will be the first time that two Caribbean professional teams from the Dominican Republic have ever played a set of exhibition games during the regular season in New York, as well as the first time playing at a neutral venue during the regular season. The only time during the winter league season where two teams play in a neutral venue is during the Caribbean Series.

There will be discussions in the near future to have a future series in New York or possibly other MLB stadiums down the line, and to have such a series be part of the regular season. 

Officials from LIDOM could include the other teams in the league in future series’ as well if the “Titanes del Caribe” series goes well, potentially giving the Estrellas Orientales, Gigantes del Cibao, Leones del Escogido, and Toros del Este a chance to be involved in the next series of games in the United States. 

The only time Latin American club teams have played in an exhibition series in the United States during the winter league season was in the November 2015 Serie de las Americas in Miami at loanDepot Park, with four clubs from both the Dominican Republic and Venezuela appearing in that event. 

The Tigres del Licey and the Aguilas Cibaenas participated in the event along, with the Navegantes del Magallanes and the Cardenales de Lara from the Liga Venezolana de Beisbol Profesional. Aguilas Cibaeñas won the Serie de las Americas, beating Cardenales de Lara in the bottom of the ninth inning 4-3 on Zoilo Almonte’s two-out, two-run single. 

The Tigres del Licey played in the championship final of the 2023 Caribbean Series against the Leones del Caracas of the Liga Venezolana de Béisbol Profesional at Estadio La Rinconada in Caracas, Venezuela, winning 3-0 to capture their 12th Caribbean Series title, the most by any organization in Latin America. They had not won a Caribbean Series championship title since 2008. 

Aguilas Cibaenas has the second-most Caribbean Series championships with six. The Aguilas’ last championship was at the 2021 Caribbean Series against Puerto Rico’s Criollos de Caguas in Mazatlan, Mexico, at Estadio Teodoro Mariscal, where they won 4-1 in the championship game under former manager Felix Fermin. 

The 2023-24 LIDOM regular season will start on October 19, with three games slated for opening day. The Santo Domingo series between the Leones del Escogido and the Tigres del Licey will be at Estadio Quisqueya Juan Marichal at 7:15 p.m. EDT. The Gigantes del Cibao will travel to Santiago to play the Aguilas Cibaenas at 7:30 p.m. EDT at Estadio Cibao. The Toros del Este will play the Estrellas Orientales a 7:30 p.m. EDT at Estadio Tetelo Vargas.

All LIDOM regular season games will be streamed on MLB.tv until the final out of the best-of-seven championship series in January, shortly before the 2024 Caribbean Series in Miami at loanDepot Park from February 1-9.

All proceeds from ticket sales for all three games will benefit the Sports Dreams Foundation, which is a non-profit organization that focuses on benefiting youth baseball and similar activities in the Dominican Republic and the United States.

No television deal has yet been made by networks in the Dominican Republic or the United States to televise the series. 

2023 Tigres del Licey vs. Aguilas Cibaenas Exhibition Series Schedule
All Games at Citi Field, Flushing, New York
Game 1 – Friday, November 10 – 6 p.m. EST 
Game 2 – Saturday, November 11 – 1 p.m. EST 
Game 3 – Sunday, November 12 – 1 p.m. EST