Before today’s game, a group of Yankees players gathered for a picture just outside of the team’s indoor batting cages. They came from Japan, Cuba, California and the Dominican Republic to show support for teammates sending a message of peace back home in Venezuela.
“We’re not trying to be in politics or whatever, because I don’t believe in politics, I just play baseball,” Francisco Cervelli said. “But I care about my people. My mom and dad are still there, and I’m always praying for them to be safe every day. It’s a little message just for peace and no more people dead.”
Protests in Venezuela have turned violent and deadly, and Cervelli was following the lead of other athletes who have posted similar messages through social media. He posted the picture to his Instagram account before today’s game. He said he had no problem with me adding it to the blog. Just helps spread the message.
“I follow (the news) all the time,” Cervelli said. “The only way you follow is Instagram or people send you videos. They’ve been fighting a lot, and those students are amazing. I’m not part of it. We’ve got so many people dying. It’s not what we do. That’s not the way my family raised me.”
Cervelli is one of seven Venezuelan players in Yankees camp along with Jose Campos, Ramon Flores, Francisco Arcia, Jose Gil, Jose Pirela and Yangervis Solarte. For the picture, they were joined by several teammates including CC Sabathia (from the U.S.), Ichiro Suzuki (Japan), Adonis Garcia (Cuba) and Eduardo Nunez (Dominican Republic).
“Latin people have always been one,” Cervelli said. “We are brothers, and everywhere we go, we make noise. We talk loud. That’s the way we do things. … We had other guys, one from Japan, another from here. I spend more time with these guys than my family, so we are a family. These are the people I have been working (with) for the last four years, so I think everybody feels the same thing.”