loanDepot Park in Miami will host the 2024 Caribbean Series. (Photo by Omar Vega/LatinContent via Getty Images)
By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
MIAMI – Nicaragua’s best baseball players visited loanDepot Park in March for pool play at the 2023 World Baseball Classic, and a lot of them will be back early next year.
The Miami Marlins and the Caribbean Professional Baseball Confederation held a press conference today at Caribbean Series Night at loanDepot Park prior to the second game of the three-game series against the Chicago Cubs. Nicaragua and Curacao were formally announced as the invitees for the Caribbean Series at the event.
The commissioner of the Caribbean Professional Baseball Confederation, Juan Puello, spoke to the media about the logistics for the 2024 Caribbean Series, noting the anticipation of what the Caribbean Series can bring to the city of Miami and its’ huge Latin community.
The confirmed teams for the 2024 Caribbean Series will be the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, which are part of the Caribbean Professional Baseball Confederation, along with the two invitees, Curacao and Nicaragua, who will compete in Miami as loanDepot Park hosts a major international tournament for the second consecutive year.
“It’s going to be interesting, because we’ve got some guys after the World Baseball Classic — we got a lot of guys that got picked up to play in different countries, which is great,” said former Major Leaguer Marvin Benard, who represented Nicaragua at the press conference and might be on the Nicaragua coaching staff come the 2024 Caribbean Series. “It’s something we want our players to get exposed let the country, let the world know, hey, there are some good ball players down here. …We’re hoping for those guys to come back and join us so we can put out the best product we can and go try and win the Caribbean Series.”
Curacao will appear in its second Caribbean Series after going 2-5 in round robin play in Caracas this past winter.
“The idea is for it to be a bridge for us to connect the professional league to what we have already established for many years on the island,“ said Jedrek Magdalena of the Curacao Baseball Federation. “It’s going to be a great transition, especially for the younger prospects, where they will get a chance to play even at a higher level [than]what we have now, and also for it to be a showcase for players to get signed… It’s all going to be one circuit of baseball where everyone is going to get the benefit out of it.”
The buzz was building for the Caribbean Series during the pregame festivities, which included Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero Sr. and Cangrejeros de Santurce owner and reggaeton legend Daddy Yankee hyping up the Miami crowd to cap off the celebration of the event, which will be played this upcoming February.
The Miami Marlins will finish up their three-game series Sunday against the Chicago Cubs at 12:05 p.m. EDT.