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Baseball...A Religion!

My Aguilas own Topps Baseball Card My Yankees own Topps Baseball Card

Well I have grown up with Baseball. My father played Baseball, my grandfather was one the pioneers in my country and I am the result. Some people in the game born to play,and others born to tell people who is playing and how, I fall in this category. I decided to be a Sports Journalist since I was in High School, nothing else has interested me.

I have had the opportunity to work with all categories in Baseball, I have seen players going from the Little Leagues in Venezuela to the Major Leagues. I have meet interesting people in the game such as Reggie Jackson, Lou Brock, Mark McGwire, Sammi Sosa, Luis Aparicio and many of the current players of the Major Leagues. I am a Journalist but first I am a fan. And I think that is the key of this job to be enjoyable.

Can you imagine my preferences?

Ok, as you have seen in my personal baseball cards, those are my teams, because I played with them (Yeahh right!).

In the Major Leagues I have always rooted for the New York Yankees. My favorite player as a kid was their first baseman, Don Mattingly. I have been in Yankee Stadium just once, in 1992, and Mattingly hit a Home Run. That was awesome for me!. I was a Yankee fan when they had their worst time, around 1990, and these recent years, as you may noticed, has been great: 4 World Series titles since 1996.

The New York Yankees celebrating the 2001 World Series

What happened this year? The issue was no other than the Angels' Rally Monkey. I tell you, Anaheim has played great this year and they deserved to be in the World Series, so I don´t feel sorry for our Yanks´because they also played very good this year.

But I cannot compare the emotion, the exciting of a good Aguilas' game with anything in the world. Aguilas del Zulia is the team from Maracaibo, they play in the Luis Aparicio Stadium where the environment is awesome with the most noisy crowd. The Aguilas(or Eagles) have had a very good team in the last few years, they won the last National Title in 2000, and represented Venezuela in the Caribbean Series in the Dominican Republic (I went with the Team).

Orlando Muñoz, one of the Most Valuables Aguilas Players

I have to say that I have been in MLB´s All-Star games, post-season games, exciting regular games, even in the dugout with the team on Spring Trainings, and in other Caribbean Stadiums and nothing can be compared with the feeling and the Baseball air of a game in Venezuela.

Baseball in Venezuela

Venezuela is the only country in South America where soccer is not the National Sport!

In Venezuela, Baseball is a religion. The Venezuelan Winter League starts in October (and ends in early February), when the regular season in the majors end, and since the very first game the environment in the country is completely different. National television broadcast almost everyday, newspapers filled with baseball information on the first page, radio talk shows, special promotions from all the sponsors, and so on.

The Venezuelan league is the best in attendance among the other Caribbean Leagues (Pacific Mexico, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico). 8 teams spreaded across the country fight with its best to reach the title and have the honor to represent our country in the Caribbean Series, where the the champions of the 4 countries fight for the title.

Each team has the 80% of their roster signed by Major Leagues Organizations, some of the players are on the Big Teams rosters. This year 54 venezuelan players were playing in the Majors, and 50 of them, regularly play in the Venezuelan league, some of the best current players are: Magglio Ordoñez (Chicago White Sox), Omar Vizquel (Cleveland Indians), Edgardo Alfonzo (New York Mets), Andres Galarraga (Montreal Expos) , Freddy García (Seattle Mariners) and 2002´s Post-Season and World Series hero, Francisco Rodríguez (Anaheim Angels).

The teams are backed up with some of the best prospects and average players in the Major Leagues, each team has working agreements with US teams and may have 8 foreign players in the roster.

Luis Aparicio Stadium in Maracaibo. The Nest of the Eagles You can have more information about all of them in the League´s Official Web Site

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