Baseball has been a national obsession for Venezuelans. But with rampant crime and new visa restrictions, those scouts are fleeing the country.
Former major league player works to revive Venezuela\'s baseball cultureBaseball has been a national obsession for Venezuelans. But with rampant crime and new visa restrictions, those scouts are fleeing the country.
Since this story was filed, Castillo has been picked up by a Major League Baseball team, the Toronto Blue Jays. He’s in the team’s training system and hopes to someday make it into a starting lineup in the major leagues.
In the 1990’s, about 20 major league teams ran academies in Venezuela.
Over 330 Venezuelans have played in the majors in the U.S., second only to the Dominican Republic.
Venezuela may just have the world’s largest reserves of unrefined baseball talent.
The value of the players is falling because not too many head scouts come to the country.
There is less of a chance that one of those players every scout comes to see signs as a professional player, because the lack of academies in Venezuela .
Carlos Guillén, a former all-star infielder for the Detroit Tigers, was born in Maracay, Venezuela. He was struggling to reverse the trend, and reopen the pipeline to the majors.
“So that’s our goal, bring more big league academies, big league organizations, trying to keep them here, because we got talent in our country,” Guillén said.
Guillén and a few other retired stars hope to restore Venezuelan baseball by constructing a complex large enough to house eight major league academies in a safe, enclosed environment.
The story is from the CCTV America team of reporter Martin Markovits, photojournalist Daniel Ramirez and producer Niko Kyriakou.
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