Colombia, Panama and Nicaragua will be able to participate in the 2020 Caribbean Season to be held in Puerto Rico, a bet with which this competition seeks not to disappear
The Caribbean Confederation of Professional Baseball reported on the entry of new countries and a different competition format for the 2020 Caribbean Season that will be held in Puerto Rico. According to El Heraldo, "the highest entity in professional baseball has approved a qualifying tournament with the participation of the champions of Colombia, Panama, Nicaragua, Mexico, Aruba and Argentina, with the champion having the opportunity to participate in the Caribbean Season."
The decision was made within the framework of a summit held in Miami. In this, the Confederation announced the venues of the next cycle of the Caribbean Season. According to the website of the Major League Baseball (MLB), these "will be Venezuela (Barquisimeto 2019), Puerto Rico (2020), Mexico (Mazatlan 2021) and Dominican Republic (2022)." There is still an outstanding edge and this is the case of Cuba that entered as a guest at this event since the 2014 edition, but has not yet completed its re-entry as a full member of the Confederation.
However, how positive and/or negative is this bet with Panama, Colombia and Nicaragua? Here I will try to put in a balance the pros and cons of this traditional event, which had lost interest and with the entry of Cuba regained some appeal.
First of all, I must say that any change involving greater participation of clubs or nations, in this case clubs/teams, will be positive to the extent of the competitiveness of that new rival. With Cuba it worked because of its tradition in baseball, but we can not determine the reach of Colombia or Nicaragua.
However, Panama would be more attractive, since it has had players in the Major Leagues throughout its history. In addition, as an organizing plaza, its commercial market is quite broad. Secondly, the competition format would have to be decided in order to evaluate which one is more profitable, that is, if by groups if there are 6 teams, or one against all.
For Daniel Parra Lander, a Venezuelan sports journalist specializing in baseball, the decision is positive and feasible, as the current format of competition is obsolete and affects the event that many believed could even disappear until it occurred to them to include Cuba as a special guest. "With Panama, Colombia and Nicaragua there will be more incentive, taking IGNORE INTO account that it is an event that lasts only a week."
Parra added that it will be important to determine well the management of these three leagues, so that they can be incorporated prior to the tie they will have between them and thus obtain the quota that is sought to complete the six, even when the Cuban situation is pending. But in general, having more countries should inject interest to the event.
Finally, the journalist recalled that Panama was one of the founders of the tournament in 1944 and was even organizer on three occasions in 1952, 1956 and 1960. In turn, the Venezuelan journalist Marfa Mata was a little more cautious and explained that the current director of the Caribbean Season, Juan Francisco Puello Herrera, has always had the idea of making the series more interesting.
However, she explained, the date on which the event is played, traditionally the first half of February, "has been a limitation, and that expansion project for 2020 also seeks to accommodate the calendar for all the Caribbean leagues to play their game postseason on a similar date and preferably the Caribbean Season is played the last week of January."
As explained by Mata, this would mean that some Major League players can participate in the event, since at the end of January they have not yet been called by their organizations in the best baseball in the world, calls that always coincide with the Caribbean Season. But without doubt, these players make the contest more attractive. Therefore, the MLB will largely depend on the series being interesting not only for the fans, but also for the advertisers who are a fundamental part of any sports event.
In conclusion, the Caribbean Season will not necessarily be more attractive if aspects such as the permanence of Cuba, coincidence of calendars, limitations with the MLB and competition format are not well defined. For the amateur it will be a very interesting plus beyond the aforementioned factors, but for advertisers and players, perhaps the inclusion of these three countries does not change much their disinterest in investing or playing in the traditional baseball event.
LatinAmerican Post | Onofre Zambrano
Translated from "Serie del Caribe: Una competencia obsoleta que busca no desaparecer"
* The opinion of the editor does not represent the average