- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 14, 2009

MIAMI (AP) - The catcalls started from the moment Magglio Ordonez was introduced Saturday, a nasty serenade by a mostly Venezuelan crowd at the World Baseball Classic.

One of Venezuela’s biggest baseball stars, Ordonez was booed because of his political views in favor of President Hugo Chavez. The All-Star outfielder recently appeared in a television ad supporting a Venezuela referendum to eliminate term limits for the president and other elected officials.

“I knew this was going to happen before coming to this tournament,” Ordonez said. “We are used to these things. I was prepared.”

The Detroit Tigers slugger said he felt “ashamed” by the way his countrymen reacted every time he stepped to the plate. He went 0-for-3 as Venezuela opened the second round with a 3-1 win over the Netherlands, and fans cheered loudly when he struck out in the fourth inning.

Venezuela manager Luis Sojo took Ordonez out of the game after the seventh, and the crowd applauded his exit.

“I don’t like it. We’re all part of the same country. We’re Venezuela,” said slugger Miguel Cabrera, Ordonez’s teammate with Venezuela and the Tigers. “We told him, ‘You don’t worry about this.’ One can’t mix politics with sports.”

Tell that to the crowd.

“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.

But not all were against Ordonez.

“I think it’s unfair, because he’s playing for Venezuela,” said Victor Alvarado, a Venezuelan who lives in Mexico and traveled to Miami to watch the WBC games with his parents.

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