Photo: Getty Images
By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
World Baseball Network’s Matthew Tallarini had some questions for the Confederacion de Beisbol Profesional del Caribe’s Ramon Ruiz and Nelson de la Rosa, who collaborated on the answers.
WBN: How does it feel to host the very first Caribbean Series in a Major League Baseball Stadium?
CBPC: The fact that the 2024 Caribbean Series in Miami is being held in a Major League Baseball stadium is a sign of the growth of this tournament and the recognition it enjoys internationally, specifically from an MLB organization like the Miami Marlins. It is also a continuation of a magnificent spectacle, as in the 2023 Gran Caracas Series, we had the opportunity to compete at the Monumental Stadium “Simón Bolívar” in La Rinconada, considered the most modern and functional in all of Latin America.
WBN: What do you think about Miami bringing a presence to this tournament and all the club teams representing each league in the Caribbean?
CBPC: The city of Miami is a stage where fans from all over Latin America coexist, especially from the majority of Caribbean countries such as Venezuela, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. Alongside them, there is a significant presence of Panamanians, with a large number of Nicaraguans also joining. It’s worth noting the strong and baseball-loving Cuban community as well.
Many times, these fans don’t always have the opportunity to attend the Caribbean Series, and on this occasion, it is the Caribbean Series, featuring the champions of their respective countries’ leagues, that will come to them. It will provide them with highly exciting games amid an unparalleled spectacle that will be unforgettable for everyone.
WBN: How do you feel about the tournament comprising seven teams, with three games played in an MLB stadium throughout the pool round?
CBPC: There is no doubt that having seven teams and a triple-header in the same venue is a challenge. However, we already have the experience from previous events. Let’s remember that in San Juan 2020, we already had a triple-header at Hiram Bithorn Stadium, and the same happened in 2021, even in the midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic, at Estadio Teodoro Mariscal in the Mexican city of Mazatlán.
Later on, in 2022, it also took place at the Estadio Quisqueya Juan Marichal in Santo Domingo. In those three editions, six teams participated, a number that expanded to eight last year, with the particularity of playing in two stadiums, but occasionally there were three in one of them. So, we already have the experience, and the opportunity to do it in an MLB stadium helps us with all the necessary logistics.
WBN: Do you believe the Caribbean Series can include more countries in the near future, possibly welcoming back Colombia or Cuba?
CBPC: The Caribbean Series is a tournament in full growth, and no league is excluded. Colombia and Cuba have been guests in previous editions, and they have even lifted the champions trophy. The arrival of Curaçao last year also added a lot of vibrancy to the Series, and we trust that this time Nicaragua will also put on a good show. It is clear that the doors remain open for everyone.
WBN: What were the logistics involved in having Nicaragua participate in the Caribbean Series this year, and how did it contribute to the strong turnout of their fan base and nation during the WBC?
CBPC: Nicaragua is a country with a rich baseball tradition. Players from this country have excelled at the highest level in Major League Baseball, exemplified by pitcher Dennis Martínez, who is part of several Halls of Fame. Many of them have participated in Caribbean Series representing leagues from other countries, and as a nation, Nicaragua has shown interest in participating in the Series. On this occasion, the Confederation’s Assembly, composed of the presidents of the Member Leagues, approved the request from the Organizing Committee to invite a Nicaraguan team. This decision reflects an awareness of their athletic quality and the support from the Nicaraguan community in the city of Miami.
WBN: Will Miami continue to host a part of the SDC every four years, or will the format alternate to other host venues in different countries, including the 2025 Caribbean Series?
CBPC: That is still undecided. The Assembly of the Caribbean Professional Baseball Confederation already has the venues for the upcoming years – Mexicali in 2025, Puerto Rico in 2026, Hermosillo in 2027 – ready, and we will see later on what the best decision is, which will always be within the purview of the Presidents’ Assembly.
WBNL What does it mean for MLB’s American fans to understand how international baseball operates in a different scope, especially with the CPBC holding the Caribbean Series in the United States for the third time in the tournament’s history?
CBPC: Obviously, the CBPC cannot speak on behalf of American fans of Major League Baseball, but we understand that Miami 2024 will be precisely the best place to share with this fan base the competitive level of Latin American professional winter baseball, and especially the unique aspects of the color and festivity that a Caribbean Series represents.
WBN: What were the logistics like for hosting the SDC back in 1990 at the Orange Bowl and in 1991 at Bobby Maduro Miami Stadium?
CBPC: The key to understanding the logistical difference between the events of the 1990s and the one we will celebrate next February is that in the previous Caribbean Series, the organization was carried out by an independent promoter with the best intentions and love for the project. However, it lacked the capacity, connections, experience, and reach that an organization of the caliber of the Miami Marlins brings to the realization of the event in 2024.
WBN: How do you feel about many prominent figures from the Miami Marlins organization being open to establishing a strong relationship with hosting the event, and exploring future opportunities to collaborate with them?
CBPC: We are very excited and, at the same time, motivated to continue working and strengthening the Caribbean Series. The fact that the Miami Marlins show this interest is evidence that our work is becoming increasingly solid.