Even at Home, Mystery Shrouds 'Leo Nunez'

Even at Home, Mystery Shrouds 'Leo Nunez'

Dominican baseball coach Luis Coronado gazes affectionately at his own baseball cliché: the dirt-covered backyard field of dreams, which he coined “the Patio of Blessings.”

This is where teen prospects practice hurling baseballs over and over again into a handmade net tied between two trees. It’s behind the house where poor young men desperate for a shot at pro baseball wake before dawn from their bunk beds in doorless rooms separated by dirty sheets.

It’s the patio of the baseball school where some students enter with one name and leave for the major leagues with another.

“This is a business where everyone has their own system,” Coronado said. “Major League Baseball has its system. The player and coach have their system.”

The system Coronado won’t much discuss is how his former student Juan Carlos Oviedo, then 17, became Marlins relief pitcher “Leo Núñez”, and one year younger but much more valuable on the market.

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