Tom Powers looks at the successful history of the Twins in Venezuela, and how the crime and the government in the country is forcing them to cut back there:
“It’s just become a little difficult to do business,” Antony said. “We used to be so much stronger in Venezuela than we were in the Dominican (Republic). Now we’ve increased our presence in the Dominican.”
The Twins’ Venezuelan baseball academy doesn’t really exist anymore. It hasn’t for about four years. The Twins no longer field a team in any of the competitive leagues. Instead, they basically hold tryout camps. And if they decide to sign a player, they quickly ship him to the Dominican Republic for development.
There’s too much uncertainty. At any point, as major league teams have discovered the hard way, Chavez’s government could commandeer the baseball facilities for a day, a week or a month. It just makes it too hard to operate. Plus, there is the safety factor.
It also turns out that when Wilson Ramos was with the Twins...