Caribbean Series goes from Venezuela to Panama

The 2019 Caribbean Series will be played Feb. 4-10 at the Rod Carew Stadium in Panama City, the Caribbean Professional Baseball Confederation confirmed on Monday.

The annual series, which features the winter league champions from Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, was set to be held in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, but political turmoil in that country led to baseball authorities deciding to move the international tournament away from the South American nation.

The Rod Carew stadium, with capacity for 27,000 fans, will host six teams: Leñadores de Las Tunas (Cuba), Estrellas Orientales (República Dominicana), Cangrejeros de Santurce (Puerto Rico), Cardenales de Lara (Venezuela), Toros de Herrera (Panamá) and the winner of the final series in the Mexican League, in which the Charros de Jalisco currently have a 3-2 series lead over Yaquis de Ciudad Obregón with Game 6 scheduled for Monday night.

This is the second straight year that the Confederation has moved the tournament out of Barquisimeto. In 2018, the Series was held in Guadalajara, Mexico. In the past 50 years, the Caribbean Series has been canceled outright just once, in 1981, also having been set for Venezuela.

Major League Baseball had already strongly recommended that players and staff not travel to Venezuela for the tournament. Panama previously hosted the Caribbean Series in 1952, 1956 and 1960.