After Cuba's inability to participate due to visa problems, Colombian baseball will have a historic sporting opportunity.
Baseball players before a game. / Photo: Courtesy GS News
LatinAmerican Post | Onofre Zambrano
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Leer en español: Lo que tiene Colombia para ofrecer en la Serie del Caribe
What was often tried, finally came true. Colombia, a country that has been growing in baseball, an unpopular sport in a land of football and cycling, will participate for the first time in the Caribbean Series, one more step towards consolidation in this discipline after 71 years playing professional ball, although by different stages.
The 2019-2020 Caribbean Series will be held from February 1 to 7 at the Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan (Puerto Rico) with the participation of the league monarchs of Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Venezuela, in addition to the special guests, Panama and Colombia.
For Venezuelan journalist Wilfredo Guzmán, a baseball specialist and in exclusive dialogue with LatinAmerican Post, Colombia's participation in the 2020 edition is positive and the just result of a process that has been growing in recent years, so we will see a team Colombian who will be in a position to beat anyone.
"It is a country that has become competitive, has more and more players in the major leagues and, in addition, has had the opportunity to intervene in the last two world classics of the specialty." Guzmán also emphasized the good diplomatic relations between Colombia and the US, which favor the coffee nation to expand in the baseball of the elderly and, therefore, also in the Caribbean Confederation.
In turn, the also communicator and specialist in the subject, Daniel Parra Lander exclusively for this medium, reflected on the growth of Colombia in the matter but stressed that the league still has economic problems, which was reflected in the delay of payments to players and press staff in the previous campaign, so the arrival of the champion team in the Caribbean contest will mainly serve to continue giving joy to a contest that in 2014 was about to be extinguished.
An award that came by luck
Yes, Colombia will play its first Caribbean Series for the absence of Cuba, and not for the qualifying process, but that does not change its growth in this sports specialty. In fact, the Caribbean Confederation took it into account ahead of Nicaragua, which has a greater tradition.
Why doesn't Cuba go? Obtaining visas for the Antillean delegation was difficult, given that the times in which their tournament ends and the logistics of transfers made it unlikely to secure the full visa before starting the event in Puerto Rico. It was there when, in meetings in Miami, the Colombian proposal was the most important.
Jimmy Char, president of the Colombian Baseball Federation, told Entorno Inteligente hat: “for several years we were waiting for the approval of the Confederation, the organization of the League has been growing, we have stadiums that meet international standards, we are ready to compete.”
In turn, Pedro Salzedo, commanders of the Professional Baseball League (LPB), said in the same way: “It is a significant achievement for Colombian baseball, our short-term goal is to be number members in the Professional Baseball Confederation of Caribbean".
Thus, Colombia in a short time is part of the aforementioned Confederation of Professional Baseball of the Caribbean (CBPC), an entity that has the endorsement of the Major League Baseball (MLB), which facilitates that several organized baseball players can participate and strengthen the local championship.
Colombia had already given signs of wanting to enter the circuit. In 2012, according to Colombian columnist Chelo de Castro, the then president of the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League (LVBP), Oscar Prieto Párraga, opposed Colombian intentions to enter the Caribbean baseball circle.
Castro himself comments in his column in El Heraldo that together with former journalist Mike Schmulson, they were appointed in a Caribbean Series to request the entry of Colombia, which, although it was accepted, did not materialize due to an alleged loss of documents.
¡Gigantes finalista!— Jaime Pumarejo (@jaimepumarejo) January 8, 2020
El equipo barranquillero @gigantesbaq representará a la #BarranquillaImparable en la gran final del béisbol profesional colombiano .
¡Vamos por el cupo a @SDCSanJuan2020! pic.twitter.com/ERJsAMAJh6
Joy and optimism
Important personalities linked to baseball in Colombia did not hide their satisfaction with the achievement. In statements compiled by Primera Tiempo, Anaymir Muñoz, from MB Sports, the company that produced the event, said: “We are filled with joy and satisfaction that Colombia joins the event,” while Daniel Cabrales, Colombian ambassador to Puerto Rico, added: “ the great winners are the Colombian baseball players, who will have the chance for the first time in history, the opportunity to participate in the Caribbean Series contest. ”
Elsa Noguera, governor of the Atlantic, in turn, said: “We have a great opportunity and I am sure that we will take it out of the stadium. A good time for this sport in the Atlantic has arrived!”, meaning that baseball in Colombia is almost an exclusivity of the coastal zone. The truth is that the first Colombian representative in the February contest will be Vaqueros de Montería, who beat the Giants of Barranquilla in the grand finale of the 2019-20 edition.
This is how the Caribbean Series will play Colombia (Colombia Time)
Saturday, February 1, 9:00 am: Colombia vs Venezuela
Sunday, February 2, 9:00 am: Colombia vs Panama
Monday, February 3, 1:30 pm: Dominican Republic vs Colombia
Tuesday, February 4, 7:00 pm: Colombia vs Puerto Rico
Wednesday, February 5, 1:30 pm: Colombia vs Mexico
Thursday, February 6:
1:30 pm Semifinal 1
7:00 pm Semifinal 2
Friday, February 7:
7:00 pm Grand Final