This Wednesday, February 1, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro formally inaugurated the Simón Bolívar Monumental Stadium for the Caribbean Professional Baseball Confederation (CBPC), one day before giving the “play ball” announcement for the Gran Caracas 2023 Caribbean Baseball Series. This new stadium hosted the initial matches between Cuba and Curaçao, and between México and Dominican Republic.
“I officially deliver the Simón Bolívar Monumental Stadium to the CBPC, the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League, and to all teams,” said the head of state on his arrival at the state-of-the-art sports facility. President Maduro was received by the commissioner of Caribbean Professional Baseball, Juan Francisco Puello, and the president of the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League (LVBP), Giuseppe Palmisano.
Puello noted the management of the Venezuelan government that made this project possible, that will serve host to national and international sporting and cultural events.
“This stadium is a great effort made by the government [President Maduro presides] over,” Puello said. “We are receiving it for the 65th edition of the Caribbean Series. We have chosen this magnificent setting because it is the first time that eight teams are participating in the Caribbean Series.” In turn, Palmisano thanked the effort of the national government, “so that the Confederation and the League can delight all baseball fans of the Caribbean,” in particular noting that “this [facility] is unique in the region.”
Accompanied by former Venezuelan MLB player Antonio “Potro” Álvarez, Maduro made the first throw that marks the return of the historic tournament to Venezuelan territory, after the 2014 edition when the Nueva Esparta stadium, located in Porlamar, witnessed the coronation of Naranjeros de Hermosillo.
Built in La Rinconada, Caracas, the sports venue will host 21 of the 32 games of the Caribbean Series, which will also be played at the Jorge Luis García Carneiro stadium, known as the Forum of La Guaira, located in the Macuto parish, with capacity for 14,000 people.
Named in honor of the Liberator Simón Bolívar, the Monumental Stadium is the second largest stadium in Latin America, with a capacity of 38,000 seated spectators, only surpassed by the Latin American Stadium in Cuba, with capacity for 55,000 fans.
Its facilities include blue chairs distributed in five levels, as well as LED lighting, giant screens, and artificial grass, the latter with high resistance and infiltration capacity with the possibility of being hybrid in the future.
Approved by the CBPC, organizer of the Caribbean Series, the megastructure is fully equipped with access ramps and elevators, VIP boxes, press rooms, and entrances identified with parish names of Caracas: 23 de Enero, Caricuao, El Valle, and Petare. It also has roads and commercial areas for food and merchandise vendors.
The 65th Caribbean Series will have eight teams competing, two of them as special guests, seeking to take over the title raised by Caimanes de Barranquilla of Colombia in 2022.
From February 2 to 10, the tournament will be played by: Indios de Mayagüez, representing Puerto Rico; Tigres de Licey, representing the Dominican Republic; Vaqueros de Montería, representing Colombia; Federales del Chiriquí, representing Panama; Agricultores, representing Cuba; WildCats KJ74, representing Curaçao; and Cañeros de los Mochis, representing México.
Venezuela will be represented by Leones del Caracas, winners of the Venezuelan baseball season 2022-2023. The popular Venezuelan team won its last title at the Caribbean Series hosted in Venezuela in 2006.
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The new Simón Bolívar Monumental Stadium will also host the final game of the Caribbean Series, scheduled for February 10.
This Thursday, February 2, the Gran Caracas 2023 Caribbean Series kicked off. The opening day began at 10:30 am in La Guaira with the Agricultores (Cuba) vs. WildCats KJ74 (Curaçao) match, wherein the Cuban team defeated its counterpart from Curaçao 3-1.
Later in the day, at 12:00 am, the Cañeros de Los Mochis (México) vs. Tigres de Licey (Dominican Republic) game began in La Rinconada, in which the Mexican team was victorious 5-4.
(Alba Ciudad) with Orinoco Tribune content
Translation: Orinoco Tribune
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