The 'world' starts arriving in Taylor

August 9, 2006

If Lucas Molero was feeling any jet lag after his flight from South America to Detroit Metropolitan Airport, he wasn’t showing it.

Molero, one of the umpires visiting Taylor for the Junior League World Series of baseball, arrived Wednesday afternoon from Caracas, Venezuela, via Miami, Florida. He was greeted by a delegation from the World Series and boarded a bus headed for the Ramada Inn in Taylor.

Molero, who works as a “watchman” for his hometown of Maracaibo, said through an interpreter that he was honored to be selected to work the World Series and was eager to call balls and strikes in games that start on Sunday.

“The goal of all the umpires is to go to the World Series,” Molero said. “We all work hard to achieve this dream.”

Molero has been an umpire for 10 years and had worked the 2003 Latin America regional tournament in Panama. He was selected last November to be part of the crew that will work the 23 games of the international tournament.

Molero, who is visiting the United States for the first time, said he was “excited” to learn that he will not be the only person from his homeland in Taylor. A team from Maracaibo will be one of five foreign teams competing in the World Series.

The Latin American champions arrived Wednesday night, along with a contingent of fans from Jakarta, Indonesia, in the Asia-Pacific region. Team arrivals were scheduled to continue Thursday, Friday and even Saturday.

World Series Director Greg Bzura said their arrival was a sign that “the world is coming to Taylor” once again.

This year marks the 26th annual World Series at Heritage Park. The tournament was founded in Taylor and has been here ever since.

Colorful opening ceremonies are scheduled for 8:30 p.m. Saturday at the park, located at 12111 Pardee Road. The night will include the Parade of Champions, welcome remarks and fireworks. Admission is free and the public is encouraged to welcome the teams to Taylor.

Venezuela will be among the teams to beat when World Series games get under way on Sunday, although the South America team doesn’t play until Monday.

As of Wednesday night, five other teams had qualified for the series, including El Campo, Texas, which won the USA Southwest Region title Tuesday, and Alexandria, Virginia, which won the USA South Region championship on Wednesday.

Other teams already qualified to play in the series are Indonesia, the first-time Junior League champions of the Asia-Pacific Region; the Ramstein Air Force Base team from Germany, champions of the Europe-Middle East-Africa Region; and the Mexican national champions from Guaymas, Sonora.

Regional tournament play to determine the other four spots in the series continued yesterday in Fort Wayne, Indiana; Freehold, New Jersey; Beaverton, Oregon; and Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.

The first game of the series at noon Sunday pits Indonesia – in its World Series debut – against Germany. At 2:45 p.m., Virginia plays the USA East champs.

At 5:30 p.m. Mexico plays the national champions of Canada. And at 8:15 p.m., Texas plays the USA West champs.

Venezuela and the USA Central champions have Sunday off, but both compete on Monday.

Four games will be played daily Sunday through Thursday. Next Friday, the International championship will be decided at 5 p.m., followed by the USA championship game at 8 p.m.

The world championship game is set for 5 p.m. August 19.

Tickets to the game are just $4 per carload per day, or $7 for a pass for the entire series. The ticket price includes parking.

While the world title game is set for future broadcast on ESPN, select World Series games can be heard over the Internet by accessing www.cityoftaylor.com/listen.

For continued results, history and photos of the 2006 World Series in Taylor, visit www.cityoftaylor.com/worldseries. Questions about the series can be directed to TaylorNews@aol.com.