Emilio Bonifacio enjoyed learning about the Caracas-Magallanes rivalry in Venezuelan baseball
EL NUEVO DIARIO, VENEZUELA.- Emilio Bonifacio is synonymous with rivalry in Venezuela, as he is a Dominican who can boast of having worn the Navegantes del Magallanes uniform and has faced Leones del Caracas on multiple occasions.
On Monday, prior to the clash between Tigres de Licey (Dominican Republic) and Federales de Chiriquí (Panama), the feline outfielder with experience in Major League Baseball (MLB) recalled his time in the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League (LVBP).
“That was something unique. The truth is that I experienced a special atmosphere, because when playing a classic one is inspired because they are winning teams and as always they seek to win titles and work with more passion”, explained the 37-year-old Bengali player at the Jorge Luis García Carneiro Stadium in Macuto , La Guaira state. “This rivalry is similar to the one between Águilas Cibaeñas and Tigres de Licey in the Dominican Republic. That is why it was easier for me to understand and adapt to playing in the LVBP, which is a tournament of an excellent level”.
According to the outfielder, what made working with Magallanes more fun is the love fans have for baseball players. He believes that this is only appreciated in the Caribbean Basin, because in the Major Leagues the fans of the teams do not celebrate scores and outs effusively.
“The Caribbean fans are more passionate. In the MLB, the American public enjoys each play with ease, but the Latin Americans get into the game a lot because they live baseball with a lot of passion”, asserted the ranger who maintained an average of .256 (from 2,613-619) in 12 MLB fair where he worked for the Arizona Rattlesnakes, Washington Nationals, Florida and Miami Marlins, Toronto Blue Jays, Kansas City Royals, Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves and Chicago White Sox.
The patrolman, who in the LVBP acted exclusively in the postseason, does not contemplate retiring in the short term, rather he wants to remain active to help Licey win more titles in the Professional Baseball League of the Dominican Republic (LIDOM), as he did in the 2022-2023 tournament.
Although he maintained a low average (.228), after playing 29 hits in 127 chances, he did contribute to the streaking successes in other areas because he totaled 11 RBIs, 18 runs scored and four stolen bases in 35 games. He wants to continue in the world of baseball and knows what is the key to extending his useful life in diamonds.
“To have longevity in a career as demanding as baseball, you have to have a lot of discipline when it comes to training and working. When you do things with discipline and respect, positive results can be achieved,” added Bonifacio, who in the Grand Final of the LVBP 2009-2010 contest provided his services for La Nave Turca, which lost 4-3 to Caracas in an unforgettable Grand Finale for him.
The reason? He was able to fully understand what it means to work for one of Los Eternos Rivales and for that reason he regretted the setback of La Galera in that peak stage.
“I remember many things from that final, but I didn’t leave Venezuela the way I wanted because I lost, but I still have the satisfaction of being part of a cast like Magallanes who fought to win. Both Leones and Navegantes play to win and that makes the fans happy every moment. I like that very much, ”added Bonifacio, who considers the Gran Caracas 2023 Caribbean Series as the ideal opportunity to express his patriotism.
“Playing in the Caribbean Series represents pride for any Dominican, as it is for Venezuelans or Puerto Ricans, but since baseball is breathed and felt in my native country, one will do their best to stand out on the field because wearing the jersey of your nation implies a real honor and a privilege”, said Bonifacio, who considers that the Gran Caracas 2023 Caribbean Series is a tournament of great difficulty because the eight participating teams have elements to battle for the crown in a final that will take place on 10 February.