Hot Stove Talk in a Cold, Cold Place

Hi Readers, Before I get any further into the movement of VZ players around the Major Leagues and the winter league, I must thank everyone who helped on my recent two-week trip to Venezuela. It was my third trip to the country since 2009, and perhaps the most fun: seven baseball games in four cities in 17 days. A few drops of rum and handfuls of popcorn, too. Gracias a todos:

In Caracas: Ben Rodriguez of Osprey Tours (couldn’ t have done it without you, man); Chino the able barman at the Hotel Avila; the  lovely Maria Felicia Balducci for watching her first game with me; Gustavo Viloria of Gravity Tours and his Magallanes-loving sister Angella.

In Maracay: charming Doctora Peggy Ojeda, who got us first-class seats to see the Tigres (her first game, too); and the staff of the Hotel Italo. Paul Stanley of Angel-Eco Tours, thanks for the lift, mate!

In Valencia; Anibal, the taxista nonpareil; Maria Jose Busquets at the Venezuelan Baseball Hall of Fame; the staff of the Hotel Dinastia.

In Maracaibo: the lovely Ortega family: Monica, mama, Humo, and Pancho the dog; the staff of the Hotel El Paseo.

Right now, Venezuela is a country on edge, and baseball is the last thing on lots of people’s minds: it’s hard to buy things; inflation is through the roof; personal security is a constant preoccupation: one’s basic safety and survival are a constant source of doubt. In this sense, a past-time like baseball becomes quite secondary.

Despite the country’s precarious state, I found many warm, welcoming folks willing to help me and willing to share their passion for beisbol; the taxi driver in Caracas who dreamed of playing as a boy; the customs man who shared my love of the Tiburones of La Guaira (easy pass there for the gringo); the vendors outside the stadiums who sold me souvenirs from any team I wanted.

Finally, no writer is an island (I would be Riker’s, not Margarita, if I were). Thanks to all who read and sometimes comment on my musings: Rich in Pennsylvania;  Donna, Kevin, Charlie, Patty and Judy in New York; Phil and Kelly in California; Abril in Costa Rica and Juan in Brooklyn/Dubai: it’s nice to have someone notice (and occasionally, correct) me. For my friends in Venezuela, it’s my goal to get a Spanish-language translation up this year.

As we head into the holidays and 2015, I wish you all the best. Baseball is indeed a pastime, a way to pass the time among friends and loved ones;  it is but a part of the patchwork of life, in which we all struggle to love, survive, and overcome in this oft-difficult world. Bless you all.

The author learns the art of the selfie: and who said I wasn't a front-runner? Caribes are in first, dude!

The author learns the art of the selfie: and who said I wasn’t a front-runner? Caribes are in first, dude!

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About vzbaseball

Writer, Musician, Baseball Fanatic. Lonely Planet, Fodor's, scouring the nation and globe for stories. Big fish, small pond.
This entry was posted in baseball, beisbol venezolano, latino sports, major league baseball, venezuela and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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