Skip to comments.American Baseball Players Thriving [?] In Venezuela
Posted on 12/30/2013 7:12:36 AM PST by BenLurkin
In the land of Hugo Chavez, a place in many ways hostile to Americans owing to its reputation for rampant crime, a crumbling economy and an anti-capitalist government, hitters and hurlers from across the U.S. are thriving as they try to impress big league scouts who flock here for the winter season.
In addition to the challenges of playing abroad, from unfamiliar food to a foreign language, Venezuela presents its own set of daily problems.
Foremost is security. Bodyguards lurk near the dugout, keeping a close eye on Venezuelan big leaguers whose million-dollar contracts make them prime kidnapping targets. Nobody wants to become the next Wilson Ramos, the Washington Nationals catcher who was abducted in 2011 at gunpoint outside his familys home in Valencia.
American players for La Guaira and rival Leones live a few blocks away from the ballpark at a five-star hotel, rarely venturing farther than the attached shopping mall. What they see of Venezuela is mostly what passes the bus window on long road trips between games.
You have to be smart, said Tony DeFrancesco, a coach for the Houston Astros AAA team who is making his managerial debut in Venezuela with La Guaira. I enjoy running, cycling and mountain climbing, but I just cant do it by myself here.
While the Americans are insulated from the worst of Venezuelas economic woes, in the almost three months since the season started theyve seen prices jump and store shelves go bare of basic goods as inflation soared above 50 percent and the nations currency plunged to a tenth of its official value in a flourishing black market.
(Excerpt) Read more at losangeles.cbslocal.com ...
Thriving at the expense of freedom?
The best thing to come out of Venezuela in the last 60 years is Gustavo Dudamel.
“The best thing to come out of Venezuela in the last 60 years is Gustavo Dudamel.”
I am thinking more along the lines of “any” Miss Venezuela.
Even before the Hugo Chavez insanity, American ballplayers described winter ball there as like being in a war zone.
Yes, I can’t see why MLB and their farm systems would even want to be part of this. What is really important to them, baseball or money? Baseball is a game of rules. Communism is a method of political oppression, regardless what rules say. If MLB stuck by the Americanism of which baseball and its values were formed, the money would come in hand over fist, greater than ever before.
Play the game for us. Not for the system. We’ll be a better country for it.