Latinos have left an indelible mark on the game

As the World Baseball Classic begins, let us engage in a brief experiment. Let us imagine, for a moment, that the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola -- the Dominican Republic -- produced professional baseball players as the western third -- Haiti -- actually does.

Which is to say, zero. West of the border: Exactly zero major league baseball players. East of the border: 410 (and counting; in 2005 alone, 25 native Dominicans made their MLB debuts). We'll spare you the history lesson; suffice to say, if a few things had worked out a bit differently in the 19th century, there wouldn't be a Dominican Republic, let alone those 410 major league players.

That's right: No Pedro Martinez, no Manny Ramirez, no Vladimir Guerrero. No Albert Pujols.