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Hugo Chavez is digging this World Series

Oct 27, 2012, 9:02 AM EST

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez talks on the phone with Edgar Renteria in Caracas

Pablo Sandoval homered three times on Wednesday. Anibal Sanchez gets the start tonight. Miguel Cabrera, Avisail Garcia, Omar Infante, Marco Scutaro, Gregor Blanco, Jose Mijares and Hector Sanchez are on rosters.  Venezuela is well represented in this World Series.

And someone is very happy about that: Hugo Chavez:

He referred to President Barack Obama as he joked: “I think the next World Series, Obama, you’re going to have to play it here in Venezuela, because it’s Venezuelans all over the place.”

The Venezuelan president praised Giants slugger Pablo Sandoval for hitting three home runs in Game 1.

“What would the major leagues do if Venezuela didn’t exist? They’d get bored,” Chavez said, recalling that the homers hit by “Kung Fu Panda” sailed “to right field, to left field, to center field.”

That’s well and good, but who is he rooting for?

  1. indaburg - Oct 27, 2012 at 9:15 AM

    Prior to this World Series, I had no idea that baseball was that popular in Venezuela. I saw a press conference Bochy gave the other day, and he was asked about his playing days there. He spoke about how passionate Venezuelans are about baseball and called it their national sport. Cool stuff.

    • raysfan1 - Oct 27, 2012 at 9:59 AM

      I grew up a big fan of the Reds in the 1970s, and thus my favorite shortstop was Dave Concepcion. For that reason, I was well aware of Venezuelan baseball. Hall of Fame shortstop Luis Aparicio is also from Venezuela.

      • indaburg - Oct 27, 2012 at 2:18 PM

        That’s awesome. I knew of some players, but I honestly didn’t know it was as big as it is in Cuba, Dom Rep, and Puerto Rico.

    • purnellmeagrejr - Oct 28, 2012 at 11:38 AM

      Are metalhead and randygnyc the same person or are they just brain sharing? By the way, the expresssion is “beneath contempt”

  2. BigBeachBall - Oct 27, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    Baseball: el deporte de dictators

    • Old Gator - Oct 27, 2012 at 10:08 AM

      Yeah, that mass-murdering bastard Bush is pretty fond of it too.

      • metalhead65 - Oct 27, 2012 at 10:35 AM

        you are beyond contempt for that statement. think you would be able to say that in Valenzuela without just sounding stupid? maybe if they paid as much attention to education as they do to baseball they might have a future that did not include being ruled by a dictator. screw you and left wing tree hugging hippie politics and your stupid fish baseball team.

      • Old Gator - Oct 27, 2012 at 10:40 AM

        Frankly, I doubt if Fernando much cares what I say about our former war criminal CIC. And speaking of education, where did you study English grammar, syntax and punctuation yourself?

      • kiwicricket - Oct 27, 2012 at 10:42 AM

        Yep. That will fix it!

      • chuckleberry1974 - Oct 27, 2012 at 11:37 AM

        metalhead, i’m pretty sure it Venezuela, not Valenzuela

      • kiwicricket - Oct 27, 2012 at 1:04 PM

        Valentine, vuvu-zelas, Venezuela…..Is “Valenzuela” a hybrid?

      • cosanostra71 - Oct 27, 2012 at 1:28 PM

        what does our current war criminal commander in chief think about it?

      • Old Gator - Oct 27, 2012 at 3:10 PM

        Hard to say. Shall we start agitating to try him for the murder of Osama Bin Laden? Then we can take his deposition on the subject.

      • metalhead65 - Oct 27, 2012 at 9:46 PM

        just when I think you have stooped to the low point calling Bush a war criminal you say obama who I can’t stand should be questioned about the “murder” of the brains behind the mass murder of U,S, citizens on 9-11? please tell me it was another of your pathetic attempts at humor? if not then you are lowest form of life I can think of.

      • Old Gator - Oct 27, 2012 at 11:24 PM

        And if you actually didn’t realize that it was an ironic response to the idiotic post before it, you would have to be one of the dumbest. Fortunately, though, since it wasn’t really me who thought of you, I don’t have to take responsibility for doing so.

    • Francisco (FC) - Oct 27, 2012 at 10:20 AM

      It’s not baseball’s fault.

      • indaburg - Oct 27, 2012 at 3:29 PM

        Good info below, FC. I also wasn’t sure if Chavez’s vilification was warranted or if it was based on US propaganda. Your writing is very enlightening.

      • Francisco (FC) - Oct 27, 2012 at 4:54 PM

        The world is painted in shades of gray Sally, the US is not innocent in these matters but much of their criticism is valid. There’s plenty of blame to toss around.

    • circuscivics - Oct 27, 2012 at 12:34 PM

      Actually, he is not a dictator. He is elected. They have 7 yr terms over there n it is an election year where there is actually a chance Chavez is unseated. And not to defend Hugo or Anything, but I’d like to know why he is so vilified I’m the United States. I mean I know the narrative that has been created for him, largely dictated by oil lobbies, but what are the accusations of his atrocities? I mean he is socialist, but that hardly qualifies someone to be labeled an enemy. The United States are allies of many socialist states, as we are a mixture of socialism and a free market system. The reason Chavez is so vilified is because he doesn’t allow American oil canoes into oil rich Venezuela. Now back to baseball

      • circuscivics - Oct 27, 2012 at 12:37 PM

        Apologies for all the typos. You know how it is posting from an iphone while taking a sh*t. Sh*t happens

      • Francisco (FC) - Oct 27, 2012 at 1:32 PM

        6 year term not 7. Elections are not free and fair. Four of the five members of the electoral board are his allies and rule consistently in his favor turning a blind eye to all his campaign violations. not only that he uses the emergency broadcast system to force all national and radio stations without reimbursement of air time to show his ads, masquerading as “government information” (an abuse of the system that was meant for national emergencies or crisis). Chavez uses the State to fund his campaigns and the public TV and Radio to spread his propaganda. Basically imagine Obama using the Federal Budget to radically outspend his opponent and get TV and radio coverage in a ratio of 100 to 1. Easy to win Presidential elections that way isn’t it? And when he doesn’t win he’s a sore loser. Case in point: when his candidate lost the Caracas Metropolitan Mayor election a few year s ago, he immediately created an enabling law to strip all powers from the Mayorship, created a new Jurisdiction with said powers (blatantly illegal BTW) and appointed by fiat the person in charge. try to imagine Obama being upset by an Election result in DC and issuing a decree by executive order to create a new super District that will be in charge of everything the old DC did and appointed that person himself while taking away budget and resources for the old one. This example is far from perfect because DC is not a normal city but I’m trying to convey here why many people call him a Dictator.

        Also he’s not really a Socialist. that’s code speak in Venezuela for handouts. That’s what the majority of low class Venezuelans understand by socialism. There are plenty of genuine socialists out there in the political spectrum ( including many in the French Left) that don’t care for Chavez because he’s a false left. A big complaint if you will allow this simile is that Chavez doesn’t teach the poor how to fish and thus help them fend for themselves so they can stop being poor and improve their lot in life. Quite the contrary, he just gives them fish and makes sure they understand he’s the source of the fish. In other words it’s defacto government policy to make sure the poor stay poor, yes they will live better so long as the keep receiving handouts. This way they also ensure they know who they ned to vote for to keep the good stuff coming. When your livelihood depends o the government you make sure you vote for the hand that feeds you.

        Chavez has created a state where al of his political allies control the most important and relevant powers. The entire system is structured to heavily favor the Presidential Incumbent since he spends the national treasury as he sees fit and all public radio and TV broadcast his programs with no sort of balance or crtiscism. Compare his opponents who only have one TV station that actively criticizes and opposes the government (and often serve as foil and can behave like such idiots ) that only reaches the capital and one major state and you can see how the Government has created a media environment that heavily favors it.

        Not all elections are created equal, you really needed to see this last campaign to see the level of abuse of state power and how overwhelming it was. Technically speaking some of it was even illegal but as I said, allies in the electorlal board, the attorney general, and the Supreme Court judges allows him to get away with pretty much everything wants to do if it bothers him enough.

      • Francisco (FC) - Oct 27, 2012 at 1:42 PM

        And now I’ve violated my own comment further below. See how easy it is to get suckered into these types of conversations?

      • Old Gator - Oct 27, 2012 at 3:18 PM

        Considering the degree of manipulation, the electoral results of this last one were still pretty close – which gives you some idea of how far Chavez’ actual popularity has eroded. Unfortunately, to the vast majority of the poor in Venezuela – and throughout Latin America – Chavez is still their hero. They don’t see any advantage for themselves in a return to the kind of corrupt corpocracy that existed under puntofijismo and much prefer handouts to seeing the state oil company uploading incomprehensible national profits to its directors’ offshore and Swiss bank accounts. They’re also not nearly wealthy enough personally to have to live with the same kind of constant fear of kidnapping that anyone middle class and up needs to feel. The endemic violence is another matter, and has a lot to do with that steady erosion of popularity.

        Frankly, as well as Chavez looks and as “miraculous” as his remission from cancer might be, I would still give pretty good odds that the son of a bitch won’t live to finish out his term. But when you look at the cartel-beholden military figures and far more virulently radical people he has surrounded himself with, it’s even more terrifying to consider what might happen when he dies.

      • Francisco (FC) - Oct 27, 2012 at 3:32 PM

        Gator, you’re assuming that any alternative to Chavez is a return to old politics. I would like to ask you to look beyond that and see a better alternative. I’ve already criticized you before for painting opposition to Chavez with one brush. In fact the latest candidate is far removed from the old dinosaurs.

        As for Corruption, this government has all previous governments beat. The biggest scandal has to be the amount of food bought for Mercal, more than half of which rotted in Puerto Cabelo docks, and then we found out that money accounted for only 10% of the budget allotted to the food buy! Makes you wonder where the rest of it ended up. Gator the arguments of Punto Fijismo and state oil ending up in offshore accounts is old and discredited when compared to the largess accumulated by the new Boliburguois. in other words Venezuela has ALREADY returned to the days of Plutocracy, just different masters is all. So if that’s your primary concern you are sadly looking in the wrong direction. even my grandfather, who for the longest time was more inclined towards Chavez rather than risk the return of “Pintofijistas” has said enough is enough and voted for Capriles this time around.

      • indaburg - Oct 27, 2012 at 3:33 PM

        Circuscivics, to add to FC’s comment, just because someone is elected doesn’t mean they’re not a dictator. The Dominican Republic “democratically” elected their dictator, Trujillo, to multiple consecutive terms. It was reported that 103% of the electorate voted during one election. Pretty impressive.

      • Old Gator - Oct 27, 2012 at 3:50 PM

        Francisco – we’re really not in disagreement about the current situation. Look at what I wrote again – I think you might be responding more to what you anticipated I would mean than what I actually said. I was talking about the perception on the ground, in the barrios, among those who still ardently support him, not from my own point of view. I’m well aware that there are better, and wiser, alternatives in the opposition. You can count me among the socialists who resent Chavez’ betrayal and corruption of his own revolution. I have no desire to see the country return to plutocracy, but my fear of possible postmortem succession isn’t based on who might be elected following his death. I’m much more concerned about the likelihood of a coup or takeover by those narcogenerals and colonels with whom Chavez has stacked his military, some of whom have gone on record declaring that they will never permit a return to the “old system.” By that, I assume, they mean a democratic and independent judiciary that will throw their asses in jail for their blatant drug trafficking. I worry almost as much about the extremist “Commandante Match-head” types in the civilian government. I see the potential there for something far worse than the mess that exists now.

      • Francisco (FC) - Oct 27, 2012 at 5:04 PM

        You’re right Gator, I see you’re describing the perception of the masses that are currently in his pocket and not your own POV. My mistake. I guess my critique is only valid for those that continue to think of Veneuzelan politics in the 90s (most of those include his most ardent supporters).

        You’re also right to fear the possible succession wars should Chavez kick the bucket soon. It’s very possible that unless the pro government civilians can convince the military clique that they can keep things going Business as Usual, things may get ugly. Part of the problem is that many of the government true believers would definitely want to bring some accountability to these guys (and then of course as you said, there are extremist government match-heads). They are only restrained by Chavez himself, who knows what they’ll do if he’s no longer there.

  3. historiophiliac - Oct 27, 2012 at 10:07 AM

    I was tempted to post something about owing our WS to Venezuelans the other day. I knew my team had a few Venezuelan players, and when I learned about the Giants’ too, I was pleasantly surprised. I think the Tigers’ bilingualism is cool — and not what you would expect from old Detroit.

    • sailcat54 - Oct 27, 2012 at 12:00 PM

      If baseball is going to become a truly global sport we have to accept the fact that MLB players are going to come from a wide variety of countries, continents, and cultures. Politics, however, has no place in the game. We need to celebrate the interest baseball generates in North and South America, Asia, and even Australia, but we have to check our personal political opinions at the gate. It’s all about baseball, baby!

      • historiophiliac - Oct 27, 2012 at 12:59 PM

        Booo! There’ll be no shelter here! Rage!

  4. Old Gator - Oct 27, 2012 at 10:10 AM

    At the rate that Chavez is driving Venezuelans to Macondo, pretty soon Scrooge McLoria and the Chihuahua are going to have to change their marketing focus and move their souvenir and memorabilia shop to Little Caracas.

  5. Francisco (FC) - Oct 27, 2012 at 10:13 AM

    That’s well and good, but who is he rooting for?

    Duh, Himself.

  6. townballblog - Oct 27, 2012 at 10:40 AM

    Craig, I ask you to please do a little research into the current situation in Venezuela before quoting the person who has destroyed it (over 17,000 kidnappings per year and the 4th highest homicide rate in the world; higher than Colombia, Mexico, and all but one African nation). He nationalizes the privately owned contractor companies in Venezuela because he does not want to pay them the millions they are owed (millions of US$), all in the name of “Socialism.” Meanwhile, his family members live in beach-front penthouses in South Florida.

    Take 15 minutes to read up on it. You’re a lawyer, you guys read wicked fast, it won’t take you long.

    • Francisco (FC) - Oct 27, 2012 at 10:46 AM

      Craig’s comments are baseball related. While I am the first in line to criticize Chavez and his government and generally agree with your sentiment, this is NOT the forum for such things and I don’t think it proper for Craig (or any of the others for that matter) to write in general about it in this blog. Yes, he did report on the kidnapping of Wilson Ramos, but that was also baseball related.

      • townballblog - Nov 1, 2012 at 11:09 AM

        Hi Francisco – You’re right, this is not the forum to speak about politics (I know it was not your intention to get into it either with your comments above, you kind of got sucked into it). However, we cannot deny that there is a fine line in some of the posts in this blog which almost make baseball/politics issues one and the same: One example that comes to mind is the Lou Gehrig-Minnesota post regarding Gehrig’s medical records.

        Admittedly, I may have pushed it a little with my comments above but it was not my intention. What I was trying to convey – and again, I did a terrible job at it and for that I do apologize – was that it was disrespectful** to wonder “out loud” in a public forum whom Chavez was cheering for. Imagine how people would feel if someone wrote an article about Bin Laden’s favorite baseball team…Who Cares!?!?

        And before someone can say “how can you compare the two?” Chavez is an ally with Iran, supported Gaddafi, and harbors the Colombian Guerrillas in Venezuela’s West coast.

        And going back to your comments from above; I couldn’t agree more. Very well spoken and I’m sorry I could only give you just one “thumbs up.”

        ** This is obviously a very personal topic for me and if for some reason that has caused me to be a little less than objective, I apologize.

  7. jikkle49 - Oct 27, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    Venezuelans are passionate about baseball the same reason the Dominican Republic is and it’s because it’s their chance at a ticket out of their country and into millions of dollars in the US and Canada if you happen to play for the Blue Jays.

  8. historiophiliac - Oct 27, 2012 at 11:09 AM

    The fascinating thing about posts like these is that they spur comments that are so unintentionally revealing about many Staters’ notions of superiority and ignorance about politics generally, conditions in other countries, and motivations. So many really do just assume that their frame of reference applies in all locations. The baseball talk mirrors our democracy talk: protectionist and imperialistic. I guess you can take baseball out of the US but you can’t take the “American” out of baseball.

    • sailcat54 - Oct 27, 2012 at 12:03 PM

      Well said.

    • sweepthleg - Oct 27, 2012 at 12:19 PM

      Yes, well said…. appropriately vague and pretentious.

    • kiwicricket - Oct 27, 2012 at 1:18 PM

      I have kind of noticed something along those lines. Admittedly I get a bit riled up about certain comments which display a complete lack of broader view, but when you step back from the situation, it’s actually pretty inline with their overall beliefs and perceptions.
      I find it really interesting that people commenting on here tick so many boxes and so often align almost perfectly with particular ‘brands’ of ‘thought’.

      • Francisco (FC) - Oct 27, 2012 at 1:37 PM

        My brand is Hershey’s… I love Chocolate!

      • kiwicricket - Oct 27, 2012 at 2:14 PM

        But to really know and align your political and social allegiances, I must know how you cut your sandwich. Diagonal or box-cut?

      • indaburg - Oct 27, 2012 at 3:19 PM

        I prefer to not cut the sandwich at all; I like it intact in one large piece. I’m not sure if that aligns with my political beliefs.

      • Francisco (FC) - Oct 27, 2012 at 3:19 PM

        I refuse to be assigned a label. Some days I like my sandwich in triangles, others box-cut.

      • historiophiliac - Oct 28, 2012 at 2:20 PM

        I was going to say the same as Indaburg….and perhaps there is something revealing in having both hands full. lol But, probably more telling is that I’m not really a sandwich person. I like a hot plate.

  9. clemen00 - Oct 27, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    The 9 Dominicans in this series is a record as well. Too bad they don’t have a funny lookin, loudmouth president to make it to HBT.

  10. barrywhererufrom - Oct 27, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    Wow a Dictator is excited about players from his country doing well in the world series. I would be more concerned that the dictator Chavez is rooting for obama to get re-elected. I am sure you ultra libberals who get your news from msnbc never saw that story..let the Bush bashing start in one… two

    • Old Gator - Oct 27, 2012 at 3:08 PM

      Chavez doesn’t like Obama very much and the miserable old fox is well aware that his endorsements are poison. When you get your stories from the Trailer Park Network, you’re not likely to be encouraged, or encourage yourself, to see the angles and subtleties at work in the news. Let the mindless, kneejerk Obama bashing start in one…two…

      • Francisco (FC) - Oct 27, 2012 at 5:13 PM

        It’s true he doesn’t, because Obama is not good foil. It was easier to fan the flames of imperialism with the white, Texas oil-man Bush. But a black president? That’s a harder sell. That said, I know some analysts have forwarded the opinion that if Clinton (and successors) had invited Chavez to the Oval Office and engaged him he would likely ended up being more friendly or at least neutral on US affairs and it would have been easier to keep him away from Castro’s orbit. I have to say there is some merit in Ego stroking: Look at how Lula got great deals for Brazilian companies that are exporting tons of merchandise and foodstuff to Venezuela.

  11. jaydoubleyou22 - Oct 27, 2012 at 5:20 PM

    1. Typical Calcaterra post, giving airtime to a commie.
    2. Intelligent political discussion in the comments for once.
    3. Wait, why are we talking about politics? Oh that’s right, it’s Calcaterra.

    • barrywhererufrom - Oct 27, 2012 at 6:21 PM

      Chavez stated he wanted obama to be re-elected. They are friendly with each other. Some people here believe Chavez was elected democratically. His elections have been rife with fraud..wake up…I wouldn’t expect anything but stupidity from obama-chavez supporters

      • Old Gator - Oct 27, 2012 at 11:35 PM

        Gee barry, thanks for giving me a second to tell you what I think about Benghazi before you decided what I thought for me and began constructing your predictably dittoheaded straw man instead. Dumbshit, ignorant TPN-manipulated blowhard that you are. But look, save me the trouble of wasting time parrying an imbecile. Check out what Francisco – who is a Venezuelan and, in effect, a refugee from Chavez and actually knows what he’s talking about – thinks of Chavez’ real opinion about Obama.

    • Old Gator - Oct 27, 2012 at 11:31 PM

      Your number 1 is easily the single stupidest blog response on this thread.

  12. barrywhererufrom - Oct 27, 2012 at 6:29 PM

    Old gator you are probably the same uy obama record fool who believes that the attack in Benghazi was because of a video. Your guy Obama is part of one the worst scandals in our history. Don’t worry it can’t be true because its not on MSNBC..

  13. barrywhererufrom - Oct 27, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    Translation from my droid for my last post..gator you believe obama when he stated the benghazi attack was because of a video..I know its not a scandal in your mind because the obama news procection agency aka msnbc has not reported on it..

    • Old Gator - Oct 27, 2012 at 11:37 PM

      So, uh, I guess you were there on the ground in Benghazi and collected the evidence yourself that Obama deliberately set up a foreign policy disaster in the middle of a re-election campaign just so he could sink his own presidency? Are you actually that clueless?

      • barrywhererufrom - Oct 28, 2012 at 6:23 AM

        Gator are you that cluekess to think obama would not coverup a polic failure during a re-election bid? You probably believe the economy is doing well..unicorns and the tigers offense is doing a great job in the world series..get a clue

      • Old Gator - Oct 28, 2012 at 9:20 AM

        I don’t have any idea what you’re gibbering on about, but you’re great at assuming that everyone else’s mind is as puckered and incoherent as yours because you keep insinuating your own cerebroflatulence into theirs. Have you ever actually shut up long enough to ask someone what they thought about something first? Man, you really suffer from a serious case of Faux News soundbyte diarrhea.

        While you’re trying to parse my metaphors, why not kill some time – not that your normal use of it sounds particularly useful anyway – by searching back through these blogs ? There’s something like three or four years of them archived. Find someplace where I’ve said anything complimentary about Obama or the Democrats and bring it on back here so everyone can check whether there’s a gram of accuracy or reflection in your barking and yelping. Best of luck to you.

      • jimeejohnson - Oct 28, 2012 at 12:33 PM

        Old Gator: why do you even bother responding to a pea brained right wing NUT? These idiots are too stupid to waste time on. They’ll never learn, because they cannot. This is America, land of the Conservative Republican useful IDIOT pawn. Their parents were useful idiot pawns, and so are they.

  14. eagles512 - Oct 27, 2012 at 11:10 PM

    You really want to write about an anti American piece of garbage? Sean Penn would be proud.

  15. yourrealitybites - Oct 27, 2012 at 11:56 PM

    Why is this scum (piece of human filth) given a head line? An enemy of America is an enemy of mine. Who cares about Venuzuela ‘s narrow minded leader and his opinion.

    • Old Gator - Oct 28, 2012 at 9:21 AM

      Great to know you’re so vigilant against the enemies of America. Now I can sleep at night.

  16. garlicfriesandbaseball - Oct 28, 2012 at 3:28 AM

    I recall after the 2010 World Series the Giants organization was concerned because they have a lot of kidnappings in Venezuela, especially of celebrities and well-knowns. Pablo Sandoval convinced him he’d be careful and that he would be in no danger. I don’t know what went on behind the scenes but he did go to Venezuela after the ball season was over and he did return, obviously. And I agree with yourrealitybites. The “elected” dictator Chavez doesn’t deserve the headlines in this venue.

  17. garlicfriesandbaseball - Oct 28, 2012 at 3:31 AM

    And to Craig Calcaterra ~ Who cares who he’s rooting for?

  18. yourrealitybites - Oct 28, 2012 at 9:47 PM

    Yeah douche. Because of guys like me you can sleep at night.

  19. onehokiefan - Oct 29, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    I can’t stand Obama….

    Why, what did he do ?

    I don’t know, just can’t stand him !!

    OK, well he is our president

    So ! I can’t stand him !!!!!!

    He can hit the four-seamer..

    He can ?

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