This 2013 World Baseball Classic could be special for the Venezuelan team following the death of their polarizing leader, Hugo Chavez. He was the country's leader since 1999 despite the mixed reaction from the citizens of that nation. However, if there's one thing they need, it's something that will bring them together and that's when Venezuela could use the WBC as a stage to unite a country currently heartbroken.
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It doesn't matter what your thoughts are on Chavez's reign and political policies. This is about Venezuela winning for their fans and for their nation. It seems like a situation pulled out of a typical fairy tale, but the 2013 WBC could be special for this team.
When winning extends beyond the sport, teams usually triumph. The Baltimore Ravens saw this early in the NFL season as Torrey Smith had a huge game against their rival New England Patriots in one of the most touching games and individual performances in the NFL season.
Smith was less than 24 hours removed from losing his younger brother in a motorcycle accident. Sunday, in primetime, Smith helped elevate the Ravens over the Pats 31-30. He caught six passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns.
The Ravens also won the Super Bowl following the announcement of Ray Lewis' retirement. They wanted to win for themselves, but the Ravens wanted to send one of the most influential individuals in the game away as a champion. The defeated everybody in their paths and knocked out the San Francisco 49ers in New Orleans.
Venezuela has a crazy squad. There are plenty of major league and former major league talents up and down their rosters beginning with MIguel Cabrera. Just their infield provides a problem as it's stacked with six players who can start. Including Cabrera, Venezuela goes into the WBC with Asdrubal Cabrera, Elvis Andrus, Omar Infante, Pablo Sandoval and Marco Scutaro as their infielders.
All three of their catchers, Ramon Hernandez, Miguel Montero and youngster Salvador Perez have careers in their majors. Their pitching staff has fresh talent like Henderson Alvarez and Jhoulys Chacin, while also stacked with veterans Francisco Rodriguez, Anibal Sanchez and Carlos Zambrano.
What about their outfield?
Once again, stacked! It features Carlos Gonzalez, Gerardo Parra and Martin Prado who can pretty much play anywhere.
Players haven't hesitated to give their feelings and opinions on the death of former President Chavez. Miguel Cabrera had this to say about his passing:
"It's sad what's happening to our country. We send our condolences to his family. This is something you don't wish on anybody. I don't know how his family is right now. He's no longer with us - it's very sad. I cannot comment a lot on it because I feel a lot of pain, and I'm not there in Venezuela."
This is what should push Venezuela to perform at a high level. Their nation needs it. Winning the WBC could give people something to celebrate about and will bring a nation together as they all wish their players win it all.
Winning the WBC would give the Venezuelan team an abundance of pride because, not only are they champions, but they can be the reason their country's sorrows cease momentarily.