Bastian Writes of Waiver, Venezuelan Baseball for Jamie Hoffmann

Jamie Hoffmann said that he was "not too surprised"

that he was put on waivers by the Los Angeles Dodgers early in December.

"Since I did not get called up in September from Albuquerque I was not surprised that they did not protect me," he said. "Obviously I was not in the Dodgers' plans. But this has happened before."

He said that he did not know for sure why he was placed on waivers by the Dodgers.

"They did not give me any set reasons," Hoffmann said. "I took it as a compliment because I felt that I had a pretty good year (named Albuquerque's Most Valuable Player). There is a lot of
Posted New Ulm Journal December 31, 2011
Hoffmann reflects on move to Rockies
By Jim Bastian - Journal Sports Writer , The Journal

business that goes into the game, but I have no clue as to why. I can only speculate as to why."

Hoffmann, a native of New Ulm, was picked up by the Colorado Rockies on Dec. 5.

Hoffmann heard about the proceedings while he was playing winter baseball in Venezuela.

"I was on one of the long bus rides through the jungle in between cities when one of the guys told me that he had seen the news on Twitter," he said. "When I heard that I was pretty excited. The more that I learned about it the more excited I was."

Hoffmann said that while playing baseball in Venezuela he found out that there is a big difference between baseball there and here in the United States.

"They have great fans and get a lot of fans for baseball games there," he said. "Games down there are very intense and are fun to play in. It is fun baseball, but it is definitely different.

"We play every day up here and they play almost every day down there, but the gane is different."

He said that games in the Winter League are more intense "because the guys are playing for their home towns, so they take a lot of pride in the game. The games actually take a long time to play because there are a lot of pitching changes and there are bigger rosters. If you get a game played in under four hours it's a good game."

Hoffmann said that fans at the games there can carry around a bottle of liquor during the game.

"It is different. They just carry a bottle around and pour it out for the fans there," he said. "The fans do get pretty rowdy. It is fun. If you do bad, they are going to boo you, but if you do well they will chant your name. It is a pretty cool place to play."

Hoffmann said that the fans there are pretty respectful of the players.

"I never felt worried down there, I had good games and bad games there," he said. "If I had a good game they let me know and if I had a bad game they let me know. I had fun with it - I enjoyed it.

"I really liked the country and I liked the fans there. Some former teammates of mine where playing down there."

One of the misconceptions about Venezuela is that each street is patrolled by the army with machine guns in hand.

"That depends on where you are staying," he said. "We stayed at one of the nicer hotels there in Caracas. They would get all sorts of foreign diplomats staying there, so there were all of these guards outside with their guns. But I always felt pretty safe - the hotel is connected to a nice mall and there were always people around.

Being a baseball player in Venezuela, you are put on a pedestal like a soccer player is there.

"It is fun," Hoffmann said.

Right now Hoffmann is working out and waiting to go to spring training with the Rockies, which will begin Feb. 18 in Scottsdale, Ariz.

He said that he was not surprised or disappointed when the Rockies signed former Twins outfielder Michael Cuddyer after they had claimed him on waivers from the Dodgers.

"You are not going to just sign one player and be happy with that," Hoffmann said. "You sign players, you get them in there and you have competition. Obviously Cuddy has done pretty well, so I look forward to get the chance to play next to him."

When Hoffmann was put on waivers by the Dodgers, both the Dodgers and Rockies websites had fans of Hoffmann giving him their support.

He said that that made him "feel good. This is a new opportunity and I hope to make the most of it."

And the Rockies play in the National League West, which means they will have several meetings with his former team.

"It would be a pretty cool scenario," he said. "I look forward to it if it happens, I have a lot of buddies on the Dodgers so it would be a fun experience."