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Baseball has blossomed in the Dominican Republic, where children are born into it and where the sport is at its zenith. (Globe Staff Photo / Stan Grossfeld)   Photo Gallery Photos

Play ball!

Talk about The Natural. Kids in the Dominican Republic just seem born with baseball talent. Twenty-seven major league clubs have established academies and nearly 400 players have been signed. At the Red Sox Academy, established in 2003, players sleep in bunk beds, eat in a cafeteria that serves piles of native chicken and rice and beans and plantains, and work out in modern facilities adorned with photos of current Red Sox under the slogan, "Keep the Faith." (By Stan Grossfeld, Boston Globe)

Love of game

Many Red Sox players point to the July 24 brouhaha with the Yankees -- touched off by Jason Varitek shoving his mitt in Alex Rodriguez's face -- as the turning point in their dream season. (By Stan Grossfeld, Boston Globe)
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