"Beisbol" Blues

0

imageAfter 15 years of having a recruitment center in the country, the Seattle Mariners are packing their bags and leaving town for the Dominican Republic.

It’s the latest Major League Baseball team to abandon Venezuela (sixteen in the last decade), leaving only four MLB franchises in the Venezuelan Summer League (VSL), a league dedicated to finding possible prospects for the big league up north.

Baseball (“Beisbol” in Venezuelan parlance) isn’t just our national sport, but also the gateway for many young Venezuelan men looking for a better life. But thanks to the current state of affairs between the U.S. and Venezuela, combined with declining socio-economic conditions, teams prefer to settle elsewhere.

Nicolas Maduro recently imposed a new visa policy for American visitors. Afterwards, a scout for the Houston Astros was turned away at the airport, and other teams are now reviewing their policy regarding Venezuela. As Texas Rangers assistant GM Thad Levin said to MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez: “…I hope it’s not a lasting impact for Venezuela, because there are tremendous players down there.”

Still, the head of the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League (LVBP) Oscar Prieto Párraga isn’t too happy about this either. In his view, this decision by the central government will only make things harder for Venezuelan teams to get American players. In case you didn’t know, our winter league (just like others in the Caribbean area) also serve as a testing ground for new players, both local and American. The new visa policy puts us at a great disadvantage with our Mexican, Dominican or Puerto Rican counterparts.

This issue joins the list of problems the LVBP faces: even if the league has gotten their dollars to keep working, the economic crisis has hit them to the point of requesting for special State aid. The National Assembly’s answer? NO.

1 COMMENT

  1. “Baseball (“Beisbol” in Venezuelan parlance) isn’t just our national sport, but also the gateway for many young Venezuelan men looking for a better life.”

    Tell that to the Chavistas.. that “Beihbol” is actually a USA sport, created in the USA, copied in the world. (unless you wanna go back to Egypt..) and that the only dream of anyone playing Baseball in Vzla is to get the hell out, and play in the Imperio itself.. they all do if they can as soon as they can.

    “Estraik 3!”

  2. In the context of the mountain of problems being faced by Venezuelans as a result of the massive economic mismanagement, endemic corruption, and stupendous waste of resources by this government, somehow, this problem just doesn’t make it to anywhere close to top of the list.

    • Roy,
      It may surprise you about how zealous Venezuelans are about baseball. Almost any Venezuelan knows about Major League Baseball in the U,S. Chavez and Fidel were both wanted to be baseball players. (The Devils Leaque may have them tryout soon). The effect may be small but will be oversized for what it is worth.

      • It doesn’t surprise me at all. I get that this story has an emotional impact on Venezuelans. But, the economic impact of the closures of tire factories, paint factories, agricultural products plants, and other industrial enterprises throughout Venezuela for lack of primary materials has a far more profound impact on people’s lives.

  3. Goes to show how narrow minded the people in charge are. They thought it would affect only tourists. They don’t realise how things are connected.

  4. The visa requirements are not super strict and allow multiple entrances in one year >>> can’t see the huge fuss myself, if you are not doing anything wrong you have nothing to hide right?

    • The new visa requirements are not strict, but whose definition of “doing anything wrong” is going to play out?

      Recently (pretty much as soon as Maximilian Arbelaiz showed up in DC), things have gotten pretty prickly at the Consulate in DC.

      A large number of long time employees were fired and returned to Venezuela, many folks who had been there from Pre or Early Chavez days. Most of these were reasonable people to work with, and as long as you didn’t spray paint over the inevitable picture of Chavez you could get done what you needed to get done there. In their stead we now have ideological drones.

      Lately it has been harder than usual to get anything done, folks travel from as far away as Florida to get any consular service are turned away for silly reasons and made to either give up or come back later at great cost to some. And mind, it wasn’t a paragon of efficiency before, but I hear more from folks both local and from beyond now about frustrated “diligencias” than ever before.

      There are instances of vendors that have had business taken away from them because they have participated in protests locally.

      I know of no cases yet where someone has been denied a visas to Venz for thinking differently, but I wouldn’t be surprised if in the near future we begin to hear about this.

Leave a Reply