Internet sensation Domingo Ayala, the stage name of a comedian whose “Theory of Beisbol” videos, taking an irreverent look at the game, have been viewed millions of times, is making a road trip to South Brunswick for a live show.
A flyer promotes the event, which the South Brunswick High School baseball team is presenting at Crossroads South Middle School on March 18, as “Comedy Night with Domingo Ayala,” and features the fictitious baseball star in character. Photos on the flyer show Domingo with his trademark cheesy mustache, wraparound black sunglasses, old-school baseball practice shirt with red three-quarter sleeves and a silver neckless that looks more like a chain requiring a padlock.
All that’s missing to someone looking at the flyer to gain a complete sense of Ayala is the Latin accent he uses to deliver his unique brand of humor, which pokes fun at America’s national pastime as he teaches the game through the “Domingo Baseball Academy” to legions of loyal followers, a half million of which Ayala has on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube combined.
South Brunswick High School baseball coach CJ Hendricks began watching Ayala’s videos about three years ago and incorporated them last season into his team’s practice schedule as a way of bringing some levity to training.
“It’s an easy and fun way to lighten up with our team and keep our guys loose,” said Hendricks, who will spend several minutes before practice once a week watching some of Ayala’s videos with his players as a way of dialing down their intensity.
“Our guys treat it (baseball) like the World Series every day because of how much they love the game and want to compete. Whether it’s practice or a game, guys started playing this sport because you love it and found something (in baseball) that made you feel good.”
Hendricks said he hopes the show, which will run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and kicks off with a tricky tray at 6 p.m. (tickets cost $22) can serve as a kickoff event for the entire Greater Middlesex Conference, one of the state’s biggest and best leagues of which South Brunswick is a member.
“We only get together (as competitors) when we are out on the field,” Hendricks said. “It’s a nice way to get together and have a good night of baseball.”
Hendricks said there has “never been a moment” that he’s seen Ayala out of character. “He’s fully into it. He really does kind of embrace the persona of Domingo, and he sticks with it. I think he loves how he talks about the game of baseball, and takes no shame in complementing his baseball knowledge.”
Ayala, in his videos, which range from about two to five minutes in duration, provides “instruction” and analyzes every aspect of the sport, from coaching to playing a specific position to conduct on and off the diamond.
Each video commences with music from a mariachi band, setting the tone for Ayala who, according to his website, “was born and raised in Puerto Plata, DR sometime between 1978 and 1988 (records have not been verified),” making him the most famous ballplayer from that Dominican Republic town other than St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Carlos Martínez and the second-most famous baseball playing Ayala behind former Major Leaguer Benny Ayala, who enjoyed a 10-year career beginning in the mid-seventies.
We’re pretty certain we’ve established the identity of Ayala, who appears to have played baseball at a high level – including for a major Division I college and in the Independent League – but disclosing his real name would be tantamount to letting your six-year-old know Santa Claus’ street address (in other words, spoiling the fun, in Domingo-speak, would makes us “semi-pro”). If we’re correct, Ayala, who can clearly still swing the bat, turned 31 earlier this week (Feliz Cumpleaños, Domingo!).
One Ayala video focuses on coaching youth travel ball, during which Domingo, whose videos are filmed at various fields or stadiums across the country, pokes fun at delusional parents who think their respective 9-year-old kids can one day be better than Ayala, an impossibility because Domingo, according to his website, was a “7-time Infielder of the Year and 6-time Outfielder of the Year award winner (two years overlapping when he played both SS and LF in order to hit twice in the lineup)” in his native country.
During Ayala’s “Travel Team Parents” video, a father walks up with a stack of papers to home plate, from where Domingo is coaching, to interrupt practice and states: “I’ve got his GameChanger stats since he was one,” to which Ayala replies, “OK. I’ll take a look at these,” before violently throwing the stat sheets with utter contempt to the ground, muttering, “Yeah, right,” adding, “I don’t care about your GameChanger stats. You wanna know why you keed no playing. He no playing because he no good.”
In another scene from the same video, a mother walks into the dugout to bring her son a huge bag of food, claiming, “I need to drop this off because I know he’s going to get a little bit hungry.” An infuriated Ayala replies, “Hey, it’s no my fault Johnny meesed breakfast. You no have to breeng him food in the dugout. Why you wasteeng my time. I’m tryeeing to coach.”
Next, another father rushes onto the field, pushing his way through a couple kids waiting on deck while shouting “excuse me” at Ayala, who is leaning against a batting cage. The father, pointing the camera of his iPhone toward his son taking swings at the plate, shoves Ayala out of the way and says, “Excuse me coach, it’s for recruiting.”
Finally, another father, kneeling at the protective netting separating spectators in the stands from coaches in the dugout, gets Ayala’s ear and asks: “Hey, Domingo, have you heard from the college coaches?” to which Ayala replies with complete incredulity: “College coaches? Your keed’s nine!” The father, in complete seriousness replies, “Is that too late?”
Ayala’s persona is reminiscent of the fictitious New York Mets player Chico Escuela, which Garrett Morris, an original Saturday Night Live cast member, popularized during the show’s infancy in the 1970 with his now famous mantra, “Baseball been berry, berry good to me.”
South Brunswick promotes Ayala’s show as a family-friendly event, meaning subtle jokes Domingo occasionally makes with adult humor will likely be off-base (pun intended).
“Even if you don’t know who he is,” Hendricks said of Ayala, “it’s nice to come out and check out something new and laugh a little bit.”