Among the teams advancing to the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) finals, two South American countries are Venezuela and Colombia. Among them, Colombia defeated Mexico in the first round of Group C, but failed to advance to the quarterfinals by losing all other matches. On the other hand, Venezuela won all four matches in Group D in the first round. Considering that Venezuela was placed in the same group as the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, this was a surprising result.
Venezuela also performed well in the quarterfinals against the United States on the 19th (Korean time). Although they lost 7-9, Venezuela played an equal match against the championship candidate, the United States, with strong firepower. In particular, Luis Arayez (26, Miami Marlins) of Venezuela, who was the leading hitter in the Major League Baseball (MLB) and American League (AL) last season, hit two home runs in the game on this day, and the United States, the birthplace of baseball, is looking for a second consecutive WBC victory. made it cool
Venezuela, who had hoped for a result of surpassing the third place in the 2009 WBC, failed to advance to the semifinals by allowing a grand home run to the United States in the top of the 8th inning. However, Venezuela showed the face of a baseball powerhouse without regret in this tournament.
Baseball in Venezuela was not created overnight. Led by legendary shortstop Luis Aparicio (89), who was inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame in 1984, Andres Galaraga (62), Omar Visquel (55), Yohan Santana (44), Miguel Cabrera (40, Detroit Tigers), There are many former and current MLB stars from Venezuela, such as Jose Altuve (33, Houston Astros).
So far, the number of MLB players from Venezuela is the highest among Latin American countries, except for the Dominican Republic. This is the reason why more promising players started playing baseball than any other sport, including soccer, to succeed as a sport in Venezuela. 바카라사이트
In South America, where football is held up as a religion, Venezuela is a very unusual country that is enthusiastic about baseball. The reason Venezuela’s baseball was able to become a national sport was because of crude oil. Venezuela’s oil reserves rank first in the world. It has more reserves than Saudi Arabia.
Venezuela’s oil industry boom began in the 1920s with the exploration of US giants such as Standard Oil and Mobil. US oil companies have built large industrial complexes in Venezuela to develop crude oil. A school, hospital, and baseball field were built here. It was an opportunity for not only Americans who moved to Venezuela, but also Venezuelans who found jobs in the oil refinery complex to become interested in the sport of baseball.
As the supply of baseball triggered by the development of crude oil developed rapidly, Venezuela became a country of baseball. This decisive moment was made in 1939 and 1941. When Alex Carasquel (1912-1969) joined the Washington Senators in 1939, the first major leaguer in Venezuela’s history was born, and two years later, Venezuela won the World Amateur Baseball Championship by defeating Cuba.
Venezuela was able to walk the path of a baseball powerhouse thanks to crude oil, but the oil industry was not positive at the national economic level. This is because foreign capital, led by the United States, dominated Venezuela’s oil industry. Because of this, Venezuela nationalized its oil industry in 1976. However, rampant corruption and the collapse of oil prices in the 1980s forced Venezuela’s oil industry to be privatized again.
This trend was reversed by Hugo Chavez (1954-2013), who became Venezuela’s president in 1999. Chavez, who put up thorough anti-Americanism as a political slogan along with the socialist line, nationalized the oil industry. He pursued a foreign policy that ran counter to the United States with the resource of oil as a weapon, and implemented a populist welfare policy to narrow the poverty gap domestically.
Chavez, who emphasized solidarity among Latin American countries to escape the political and economic influence of the United States, began to be interested in soccer, the ‘South American sport’, not baseball, the ‘American sport’. This was the reason why he held the Copa America tournament in his country in 2007, when he was in office, spending about 1 billion dollars (about 1.3 trillion won). Venezuelan football advanced to the quarterfinals in this tournament, but Chavez’s popularity declined as he spent too much money on preparation and management of the tournament.
Baseball’s social influence, deeply rooted in Venezuela, has overtaken football. This was evident when the Chicago White Sox won the World Series in 2005. The manager of the White Sox at the time was Venezuelan native Azi Guillen (59). After giving the White Sox their first championship since 1917, Guillen became a national hero in Venezuela.
He was the first baseball manager from a Latin American country to lead a World Series championship. Chavez, who had a sharp confrontation with the United States politically, had to appear on a TV show and praise Guillen for establishing Venezuela’s pride in American professional baseball.
Baseball is perhaps the only hope for Venezuela, whose national economy has collapsed due to the worst inflation. More than in other Latin American countries, baseball in Venezuela is an important platform for escaping poverty. Despite numerous attempts to break away from American influence, Venezuela is still subject to the US economic bloc.
Of course, so is baseball. For Venezuelans who live and die for baseball, MLB is a dream stage. It is their daily life to watch MLB games in which many players from Venezuela are active. The helmets of the Venezuelan national team players participating in the WBC also had the logo of Simple TV, a media that broadcasts MLB exclusively in Venezuela.