Venezuelan baseball players weigh in on Chavez’s death

Published On March 7, 2013 | By Tyler Scionti

Hugo Chavez was a man of great controversy in the political sphere, and he was a prominent figure in the Venezuelan baseball community as well. Many MLB players hail from Venezuela, and the Venezuelan leader was a huge baseball fan and a former player as well.

Chavez passed away this past week, and though the news of his death is met with mixed reaction by the United States media, the news hit hard for many MLB players who call Venezuela their home. Since Chavez’s policies were rife with controversy, Venezuelan ballplayers are bound to react in many different ways to his death, especially as many worry for the safety of their families at home. Many players reportedly refused to comment on Chavez’s death. News of kidnapping attempts on major league ballplayers and prevalent crime cast the nation into a poor light, shoving their former leader into the spotlight.Recently, Detroit pitcher Brayan Villarreal‘s family was the victim of an attempted kidnapping at home in Venezuela.

The country has produced numerous MLB stars like Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners, Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers, and Pablo Sandoval of the San Francisco Giants.

Despite his teammate’s recent experience, Cabrera said Chavez’s death marks a difficult and sad time for the country.

”It’s sad what’s happening to our country,” first baseman Miguel Cabrera said. ”We send our condolences to his family. This is something you don’t wish on anybody.”

Pitcher Carlos Zambrano was also outspoken after hearing the news, and he urged his fellow Venezuelan citizens to stay calm and out of trouble over the next few weeks.

“I’m very sad. I ask that the Venezuela people stay calm,” Zambrano said. ”We have to understand that the president had a family. He’s a human being and it’s sad. We send him the condolences to the Chavez family. We know it’s a difficult moment. This caught us by surprise.”

It will be a tough time for many Venezuelan players. While many mourn the loss of their leader, there are quite a few players who are clearly unhappy with the state and safety of their home country. The World Baseball Classic, which the Venezuelan team is participating in, is sure to be an emotional time as the Venezuelan team plays with a bit extra behind their bats.

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About The Author

Hi I'm Tyler Scionti, I'm a member of the class of 2015 at the College of the Holy Cross where I study English and Economics. At school I cover a variety of sports while also writing a beat column on the Boston Red Sox.