Maglio Ordonez is one of the more decorated Venezuelans in baseball history. He’s still a major leaguer, he’s a former All-Star and a proud countryman. All of that should make him a huge hit at the ongoing World Baseball Classic, where the Venezuelans landed a big second round victory over the Netherlands yesterday. But it isnt working out that way. Instead, Ordonez is being boooed like A-Rod in Boston, and it’s all because of his political beliefs.
According to the ASSOCIATED PRESS, the disagreement between Ordonez and his country’s rabid fans stems from a series of current commercials in Venezuela. In the ads, the slugger advocates for the abolition of presidential term limits, a move which is patently aimed at getting more time in office for controversial head of state/autocrat Hugo Chavez. The controversial president has long exploited Ordonez’s success and fame for his own gain (no surprise there) as you can see in the video after the break, where Chavez holds a press conference to congratulate Ordonez’s past accomplishemts. While some, like fiery White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen weren’t so receptive, Ordonez has always been happy to play Chavez’s patsy. Needless to say, that’s not going over too well with the more liberal Venezuelans (i.e., expats in the U.S. and other countries) who have to watch Ordonez’s ugly mug — and horrible hair — in ads for a guy they’ve been fighting to push away for years.
Just listen to comments from a couple of Venezuela fans, and you get an idea of just how horribly Ordonez’s cameos were received.
“He should be expelled!” shouted Simon Azlak, a Venezuelan national and resident of Miami who attended the game with several friends.
“We don’t want to see him ever again,” his friend Juan Rangel added.
Expulsion: Not just for middle school anymore. Clearly, that’s not going to happen, but it doesn’t sound like fans are going to stop booing Ordonez any time soon, either. And the way Venezuela is steamrolling opponents right now, the fans coule get a much longer lease of life on their political soapbox, extending Magglio’s stay in an unintentded political crucible, all played out on international TV.
Bet that’s what he thought he was heading off for when he left Tigers camp earlier this spring, huh?