The Liga Venezolana de Béisbol Profesional (LVBP) season is about to start next week, and fans will be hearing “play ball” for the first time in a year, but this time it comes with new passions that have nothing to do with playing ball and a lot to do with the state of our nation and how polarized it is.

Add to that the fact that PDVSA is going to bankroll the operation, and you can imagine the tone of the debate: How can there be baseball in a country where 93% of people can’t afford enough food? How is it possible that they gave 10 million dollars to the LVBP while people starve?

For some, “there can’t be a fiesta de béisbol when there’s no medicine for the ill,” and fans of all eight teams are firmly opposing the 2017–2018 season.

Not Just a Game

While many think of baseball as “a game,” the LVBP is one of the most solid and profitable businesses in the country. Asking for no baseball, from an offended fan’s perspective, is one thing, but asking to deprive hundreds of Venezuelans of the opportunity to work is a whole different game.

How can there be baseball in a country where 93% of people can’t afford enough food?

When you demand that there’d be no baseball, not only the players lose their jobs, it’s also coaches, vendors, referees, transportation companies, field maintenance people, doctors and professionals on every team, sports anchors, cheerleaders and a long long list of folks who would suffer from this crisis and have no backup plan.

More than noble, it’s our duty to think of the less fortunate at times like these, and by “prohibiting” the season, we might be pushing others to dire economic scenarios, while really fixing nothing.

But fans may be justifiably mad.

What About the 10 Million?

This is where the plot thickens. The Venezuelan oil juggernaut is expected to be an official sponsor for this season, as makeup for the PR dólares-preferenciales debacle the LVBP has been struggling with. This has no reason to be. That’s why we have a Venezuelan Baseball Federation, a public entity whose sole existence is to promote and develop Venezuelan talent.

If last season left any lessons at all, it might be that, unless prices for tickets magically plummet, Venezuelan ballparks will be deserted, giving us a clue into this conundrum’s raison d’etre. It’s not profit, or talent (since it’s mostly imported), nor is it harakiri in the name of the fans.

It’s keeping business as usual.

Those ten million dollars are life and death for literally hundreds, if not thousands.

Every swing of the bat, every toss to first base, every single pitch, is being paid by you, at the expense of those who have the next Caracas-Magallanes on their priority list, for buying food is hard enough as it is.

It’s true the MLB never stopped playing during the World Wars or Vietnam, nor were the Olympics suspended, and we still have weddings, quinceaños, bachelor parties and baptisms. Celebrations are necessary in times of crisis and the juego de pelota has been a tool in uniting the country for years. But, then again, the US never starved and for as many wars as they have taken part in, none were on home soil or waged during an economic tragedy.

Those ten million dollars are life and death for literally hundreds, if not thousands. Feeling guilty while watching a game might be the only sane answer to this, another of our things tainted by mismanagement.

21 COMMENTS

  1. “While many think of baseball as “a game,” the LVBP is one of the most solid and profitable businesses in the country. Asking for no baseball, from an offended fan’s perspective, is one thing, but asking to deprive hundreds of Venezuelans of the opportunity to work is a whole different game.”

    Wouldn’t logic dictate that if VZ baseball is solid (it is) and profitable (?) then it wouldn’t have to be propped up by the financial arm of the Bolivarian Socialists? It shouldn’t be the duty of any government (or political party) to employ people for the sake of employment. Yet here is Venezuela Beisbol, sponsored by Chavismo. Can we expect the “all seeing eyes of Chavez” to be on the back of every uniform?

    “When you demand that there’d be no baseball, not only the players lose their jobs, it’s also coaches, vendors, referees, transportation companies, field maintenance people, doctors and professionals on every team, sports anchors, cheerleaders and a long long list of folks who would suffer from this crisis and have no backup plan…. More than noble, it’s our duty to think of the less fortunate at times like these, and by “prohibiting” the season, we might be pushing others to dire economic scenarios, while really fixing nothing.”

    If there are no jobs, it isn’t because the fans hate baseball. It is because of Chavismo. Having PDVSA bankroll LVBP is a marketing ploy. Nothing but symbolism. I wouldn’t go see the games on principle, knowing that Chavismo gets any sort of good publicity with this. And I love VZ baseballers. (Eduardo Escobar of the Minnesota Twins is my favorite at this moment.)

    Again, it isn’t the duty of the employer to employ. It is the primary duty of the employer to create a profit. If that profit is sufficient to keep the job creator self employed and there is a perceived need to expand, that is where the job creator has the motivation (not a duty or obligation) to hire extra employees.

    That being said, it is our duty as human beings to think of the less fortunate. I am glad that ANYONE in VZ can be employed.

    I would like to enter this weekend on a positive note, however. And here it is: This $10 million might be the best spent money in VZ, despite where it comes from. At least it isn’t going into Delcy’s or Diosdado’s pocket. Maybe their pockets are already too full?

    Have a good weekend, Venezolanos! Keep the faith, baby!

  2. This reminds me of the old urban legend of the capitalist businessman visiting an excavation for a railroad cut in Russia, during the twenties.

    “This project employees over two thousand laborers just for the pick and shovel work,” explained the supervisor.

    “But just six steam shovels could do the same work in half the time,” explained the businessman.

    “That may be true but then we would eliminate thousands of jobs,” replied the supervisor.

    “If the purpose is to create jobs, then why don’t you take away their shovels and give them spoons?” ask the businessman.

    • Ha!

      A friend of mine use to work work a civil engineering company in college in Texas. He was assigned to check on a small road and drainage project that was taking longer than it should have. He arrived on site. The crew were all Mexican and they had a $250K Cat Backhoe with them. Rather than use the backhoe to dig the trench, the Mexicans had used it to block traffic while they dug the trench with shovels.

      My friend told me that he furious that they would even think of wasting a $250k specialized piece of equipment as a traffic management device. He told me that was the day he realized that they “Just think different than you and I.”

  3. $10Mfor baseball, $5M for Harvey, a few more millions for victimas of earthquake in Mexico and hurricanes Irma and Maria for a total of probably more than $20M. That amount of money could be invested to produce one or more items badly needed in the country while probably generating more jobs than the baseball game would.

  4. Why the question is, if they give them $10m then everyone else get squash? Why I can’t go and buy my own dollars?

    What it has do with baseball?

    How is the baseball responsible that I don’t get a single dollar when they are not the ones in charge of selling them?

    like always everyone is looking at the ball in the air, and not the guy in first base stealing all the bases away until it reaches home, maybe someday you guys will see him too, running with his pockets full of cash

    PD I don’t even like sports, whatever….

  5. In the U.S. during WWII, major league “white” baseball did effectively stop. The players either enlisted or were drafted, leading to the creation of the professional women’s league, and more attention to the Negro Leagues, where the players were better anyway!

    Regarding VZ, it’s gone to fucking hell in a handbasket anyway. Why deprive folks of their baseball? The cost is nothing compared to what’s needed to make improvements in food, medical and security anyway.

    Juega Ball!!!

  6. The difference with the MLB, etc, is that that isn’t dependant on Federal cash and taxpayer money. The LVBP should keep playing if it can pay its expenses: the teams, the league, the owners. But PDVSA has no money to maintain production, much less to fund a sports league.

    • Every MLB team in the U.S. gets tax advantages, economic incentives, subsidies for building stadiums, public CASH influxes…and more… etc.

      Which comes from public monies.

      It’s all based on the premise that it’s good for economic activities, economic development, around these stadiums. And it’s all total bullshit. No one wants their grown child to make a living selling pretzels or beer during a game.

      And none of these subsidized stadiums help the surrounding areas with real, higher skilled, good paying year-round jobs anyway.

      Never ever EVER!

      So let’s not be so proud of the American sports system.

      • Yup! And all the players pay a special entertainment tax or such. Some call it a fee.

        Every publicly funded stadium is a money pit. $9 for a 16oz 3.2% cervesa? No thanks. And then when they go on strike for not “earning” enough millions.

        Never mind the hordes of drugs and violence that surrounds professional athletic players.

        They can play all they want, but I am not interested in making them rich when they insult their fans.

        • “Never mind the hordes of drugs and violence that surrounds professional athletic players.”

          “hordes” of drugs and violence? Really?

  7. “When you demand that there’d be no baseball, not only the players lose their jobs, it’s also coaches, vendors, referees, transportation companies, field maintenance people, doctors and professionals on every team, sports anchors, cheerleaders and a long long list of folks who would suffer from this crisis and have no backup plan”

    Are you fucking kidding me, these people loosing there “jobs” if a broke-ass PDVSA won’t “sponsor” the LVBP with other people’s money? Yet another example of how fucked up things are in Cubazuela. And you can bet your bottom bolivar cunts will go and watch the games. Bcuz the “pola lite” still served cold pana! Question: is there a world ranking for “The most pendejo pueblo del mundo”??? Bcuz Venezuela would win that shit hands down!!

  8. No need to worry about attendance, pdvsa will require employees to show up in red tshirts with the ojo de chabez. Just more propaganda for the regime and beautiful revolution.

  9. “…we might be pushing others to dire economic scenarios, while really fixing nothing.”

    It would actually accomplish something: To make those people to turn against the regime too, because their lives will be disturbed and they won’t be able to continue living as if nothing happens around them.

    The disgusting mania of ignoring the dictatorship and its crimes in favor of a fake peace is one of the most powerful things sustaining chavismo.

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