As the regular season comes to an end in Venezuela, so does my season here. I was not added to the playoff roster by the Tigres de Aragua. I will be headed home shortly this week. I would like to thank everyone involved with the Tigres especially the front office staff, Manuel and Rafael. They have been very grateful and have gone past expectations in making my stay in Venezuela extremely pleasurable.
Of course I want to thank my teammates and coaching staff for helping me and playing their hearts out behind me. This is a very special bunch of guys and I only wish them the best going forward in the playoffs. I loved playing with them, listening to them play tambour music, and just spending time with them sharing stories in the locker room.
Finally, I want to thank the fans. Every country I go to I see how much the fans adore and support their teams. Never have I seen so much support for their team as I have here in Venezuela. The fans love their team and their sport here. These three months of baseball here during the winter are like the Olympics to the fanaticos. They love the game and respect it. They want you to perform well each and every time. Their passion for the game is unexplainable. You need to see it in person to appreciate it. No video or picture can explain the excitement. Every game from the very first feels like the 7th game of the world series. It really was a treat to come here and play baseball and witness it in person.
I hope to come back next season and perform better. I know my statistics weren’t good this season, but I know I can perform here at a competitive level and get better.
This team has been through much adversity with the kidnapping of Wilson Ramos, to the death of a great player Rosman Garcia. I know they are strong willed and have the passion to win and push each other to win. Arriba Tigres!
Thanks also to all the teammates and security staff for calling me Willie Chirino’s all season. I loved it and laughed non stop trying to sing “Mediaa Negras” for you all.
Please leave comments, share the blog, and ask questions. Happy New Year!
Arriving back in Maracay at 3am after a sweep of Margarita usually has a nice feeling to it with players singing on the plane, telling jokes, and playing cards. This trip was a little different after hearing the startling news of the kidnapping of our teammate and friend Wilson Ramos. News traveled throughout the dugout in our second game in Margarita about the suspected kidnapping. It was a very tough situation for many players to hear this and focus on the game. Players stayed attached to their phones following the game to hear if there was any positive news. There has been similar situations in the past with other MLB stars, but never was the actual player taken. It was usually a family member.
We are all praying and hoping for a speedy and safe return of our teammate. He was in our dugout last week at home hanging out and sharing stories with us about the big leagues. We know that our team along with the Venezuelan police are doing everything they can to alleviate the situation. Many friends and family members asked me about the team and my safety. The team and front office staff goes over and beyond with team security. We have about 8-12 armed guards who travel with us on the planes and buses. We also have police escorts to and from the fields. I know the import players feel safe.
This has been a tough week for all of Venezuela, the fans, and of course the players and his family. Please pray for Wilson and his family. You can leave any thoughts or comments below.