I had my personal introduction to their passion when I was in a taxi in Caracas a few years ago. The driver had the Caribbean World Series on the radio and he was complaining about the national team under performing.
At one point, David Concepcion, the great Reds shortstop who should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame, popped out with men on base and the driver just went crazy screaming "Idiota."
It reminded me of my parents' stories about the Cuban team in the Caribbean World Series of the 1950's. The tournament brought together the winter league champs from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Panama, Mexico and Dominican Republic.
This tournament made the Red Sox-Yankees games look calm. There were huge crowds, music, cigars, rum and language that your mom would object to. That's Caribbean baseball!
Opening Day 2014 comes at a very difficult time for Venezuela. The country is in chaos. The saddest case of the daily violence was the recent killing of Adriana Urquiola, a young pregnant woman. (Photo via Fausta's Blog)
We also read that President Putin is looking to Latin America for "expansion," an "in your face Obama" move. I guess that President Putin did not get the memo that Russia is "a regional power"!
Don't blame our friends in Venezuela if they put politics aside and talk about Miguel Cabrera's new $292 million contract. My guess is that most Venezuelans are very proud of Cabrera and all of the great players in the majors, like Elvis Andrus the wonderful shortstop with the Rangers.
I can hear the arguments down in Caracas: "Cabrera is the best but he is not Aparicio".
Yes, Aparicio is still #1 down in Venezuela.
The Venezuela crisis has hit Cuban Americans very hard in the US. We know why they demonstrate. We can see ourselves in those streets of Caracas.
Hopefully, Venezuelans will take a little time off today to watch baseball. Or as my father said, no one in the Caribbean talks politics during a baseball game!
P. S. You can hear CANTO TALK here & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.
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