Afraid to drive in Dominican Republic, Pirates coach prays for safety

Pirates Latin American pitching coordinator Amaury Telemaco said “I pray before I leave my house every day” because of dangerous driving practices common in the Dominican Republic.

“It’s 45 miles from my house to this academy. On the most dangerous road on the DR. Cartera Major. It’s serious,” Amaury Telemaco said in an interview with Jon Frankel that first aired Tuesday on HBO’s “Real Sports.”

Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura and former Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman Andy Marte were killed in separate car crashes Jan. 22 in the small island nation of about 10 million people. Their deaths followed that of St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras, who was killed in a crash in the Dominican in 2014.

Alcohol was reportedly a factor in Taveras’ accident, and Telemaco said drunk driving is not taken seriously in the Dominican.

“Cause people think it’s a joke,” Telemaco said. “This is a common way to say it. ‘When I’m drunk that’s when I’m a good driver.’ ‘When I’m hot.’ They say, ‘caliente.’ That’s a term they use. ‘caliente,’ that’s when I’m good. That’s false.”

There were 1,902 traffic deaths in the Dominican in 2010, the last year of available data from the World Health Organization, which says the traffic fatality rate there is three times that of the United States. On a 10-point scale, the WHO rates enforcement of alcohol laws at a 2 and speed limit laws at a 3.

Telemaco pitched in parts of nine seasons for the Diamondbacks, Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago Cubs from 1996 to 2005 and has been with the Pirates as a coach and scout for the past few seasons.

You can see the full interview in the video below. 

Adam Bittner: and Twitter, @fugimaster24.

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