There is currently a lot of excitement over the 16 nations and potentially 400 major leaguers eligible to play in March's World Baseball Classic (how can anything be called "Classic" in its initial year of existence, anyway?).
addition, the major baseball-playing Latin American countries are currently
competing in hopes of winning the Caribbean Series in February. They are the
However, there is one nation that can boast of several bonafide major leaguers that is not fielding a WBC squad, nor is a part of the Caribbean Series.
that doesn't mean their residents don't love the game. I am talking about the
Colombians are in the midst of rebuilding their homeland baseball program once
again. Yet, there is progress. They are elated in the news that their league,
the LCBP, or Liga Colombiana be Beisbol Profesional
fact is that winter baseball has been played in
In the 80's, there was a renaissance in Colombian baseball, as soon-to-be big leaguers Howard Johnson, Willie McGee, Mariano Duncan, Billy Hatcher were among many who suited up.
After another hiatus from 1988 to 1994, play resumed. Starting in 1999, Edgar Renteria has sponsored the league, with his brother Edinson in charge.
Here is what Edinson Renteria had to say about "Team Renteria's" mission. "We look back and we saw many youths built up hopes with playing if they found the support of somebody. For that reason, we take a risk to develop this called project Team Renteria to leave our countrymen something of what God has given to us."
the Team Renteria Foundantion and
a scout, the Cabrera brothers' father recommended Renteria to his original
signing team, the Florida Marlins. "We have been friends for a long time,"
Renteria told MLB.com. "His father was the one who helped me when I was a little
kid." That eventually helped Renteria become the first player from
are four teams that had been playing in
The names of the players in the Colombian Winter League this year are neither easily recognizable nor are coming soon to your major league park – not yet, anyway. But, don't think it cannot happen.
Renterias would like to establish and fuel baseball interest in their young
countrymen, hoping some could replicate the success major stars Magglio Ordonez
and 2004 American League Most Valuable Player Vladimir Guerrero enjoyed after
can assume that Jeff Luhnow, the Cardinals' Vice President for Baseball
Development, is looking into
Here's hoping they are successful.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com.
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