Caribbean Series Moves from Venezuela to Panama at Last Minute

Six days before the Caribbean Series is scheduled to start, it has been announced that the Series will be played in Panama, rather than Venezuela, based on the deterioration of the political situation in Venezuela just in the last week.

The teams that will be playing are the league champions (plus other assorted stars) from each of Cuba, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Panama.  The Panamanian team is the weakest on paper, but in a short series, who knows?

The last-minute decision to move the Caribbean Series is likely to have major financial consequences, although it’s unclear how many foreigners were willing to fly into Venezuela even before the recent escalation of political instability.

Typically, many upper middle class people from the Caribbean’s baseball-loving countries are willing to fly into at least the more stable countries to over-dose on seven or eight days of multi-game per day baseball action by the top players the Caribbean Winter Leagues can bring together.  It’s not major league baseball, but it’s good baseball with a lot of old rivalries and a lot of Latin American stars; and it’s typically a big money maker for the host country and the teams and players who get to play in it.

The games will be played this year in the 27,000 seat Rod Carew Stadium in Panama City (Rod Carew was actually born in the Canal Zone at Gatun just south of Colon, but Panama City is the capital and a whole lot nicer for tourists).  According to espn.com, Panama hasn’t hosted the Caribbean Series since 1960, back in the days when Panama sported one of the top winter leagues.  I would have to assume the holding the Caribbean Series there this February will be a really big deal for Panamanian baseball fans.

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