As first reported by Liga Venezolana de Beisbol Professional, Ronald Acuña Jr. has committed to playing the totality of the 2023-24 Venezuela Winter League tournament and in Serie del Caribe. Acuña also stated that even if it is not his team, Tiburones de la Guiaira, who goes through the playoffs and Serie Del Caribe, he will add his name to the list of reinforcements and will suit up for whatever team represents the Venezuelan League in Serie del Caribe.
Acuña credited his time in the Winter League of Venezuela with his improvement and performance in the 2023 MLB season, in which he won Most Valuable Player. «I am the type of player that states the more I play, the more my abilities will develop. Last year, I played, and even though it was only ten games, I think it made a difference in my performance», declared Acuña.
The Most Valuable Player of an MLB league will be suiting up to play in the Caribbean Series and the Winter League of Venezuela. From a fan’s standpoint, that must sound like a dream of Winter League’s past. Yes, playing in the Winter League will benefit Acuña’s development. But it will also help a lot of «chamos» that seeing Acuña in the Winter League is the closest they will ever see him play in person. For millions of fans of Venezuela baseball, seeing Acuña in the Winter League is the only chance they will ever get to see him up close during his playing prime.
Seeing Ronald Acuña come back from a severe injury and continue to play in his country’s winter league shows a commitment to the sport’s growth in his country. It also showcases the game’s very best to a crowd that otherwise would not see him. Acuña affirmed his commitment during the ceremony, where he was honored with the Luis Aparicio Award, given to the Venezuelan player of the year. This was Acuña’s third award. Fellow Venezuelan and winner of the Aparicio Award, Magglio Ordoñez applauded Acuña’s commitment by hoping that «…seeing his commitment will give an example to other players». The President of LVBP, Giuseppe Palmisano, also thanked Acuña for his commitment.
Today, a Venezuelan baseball fan went to bed, having seen the best player they will probably ever see a game in front of them in a paradigm that seemed impossible not long ago. That is worth celebrating, as baseball is being showcased at its best to a crowd otherwise would not see it.
Photo by: Manuel Gil / Prensa LVBP