CARACAS – With the return of Cuba and the addition of Curaçao as the latest update, the next Caribbean Championship will be held in two stadiums in Venezuela and will feature eight participating teams for the first time.
The announcement was made Friday by the Caribbean Professional Baseball Association (CBPC).
The 2023 Caribbean Series “will be historic and will be a milestone,” CBPC Commissioner Juan Francisco Boelo Herrera said at a virtual press conference from Santo Domingo. The ultimate baseball tournament will be held in the Caribbean in February.
The committee said in a statement that the “Special Edition 65” of the Caribbean Series will be played with eight teams, “which constitutes a qualitative and quantitative achievement for the benefit of Caribbean baseball fans.”
The Caribbean Championship will bring together the winter baseball champions of Colombia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Panama and Venezuela. The ninth of Venezuela, as the host country, extended the invitation to Curaçao, which does not have an active league during the winter, but does have a talented group of players who play in organized baseball in the United States, including the major leagues.
In the meantime, Cuba is back after missing out on the past three tournaments.
The Cuban team was part of the so-called Caribbean World Championship from 1949 to 1960, during the so-called first phase of the tournament, but was disqualified from the competition after the late Cuban President Fidel Castro banned professional sports on the island.
The Cubans returned to the tournament in 2014 and were declared champions in 2015, but the team has not participated since January 2020 and was replaced by Colombia at the last minute after not obtaining US visas in time to travel to Puerto Rico as a result. Tensions between Washington and Havana during the administration of President Donald Trump at the time.
It was not clear if Cuba would also be present in 2024, when the tournament is scheduled to take place in the US city of Miami.
The president of the Cuban Baseball Federation, Juan Reinaldo Perez Pardo, and Curacao representative Jedric Magdalena, thanked the Venezuelan League for the invitation.
The President of the Venezuelan Association, Giuseppe Palmisano, who chairs the organizing committee of the Caribbean series “Gran Caracas 2023”, stated that he is “working tirelessly” to make an excellent show.
“As is known, we will play in two stadiums,” the Estadio Universidade in Caracas and the Forum Stadium in La Guaira, about 20 kilometers north of the Venezuelan capital, home to the sharks of the local championship.
In 2006, in Venezuela, it was also played in two places, the central cities of Valencia and Maracay, where the local Lions de Caracas were crowned.
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