Pérez steals show by singing Venezuelan national anthem
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Venezuela’s Jose Altuve playing against the Astros may have been the biggest storyline from Wednesday’s exhibition game between the defending World Series champions and the Venezuelan national team, but pitcher Martín Pérez may have stolen the show before the game even started.
Pérez, ace pitcher from the Rangers, sang the Venezuelan national anthem while the majority of the crowd at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches and everyone wearing the maroon and yellow of Venezuela sang along with him. Standing behind home plate, Pérez belted out “Gloria al Bravo Pueblo” with a passion.
“People loved it, people made a lot of noise, and everybody loved that,” Pérez said. “To have the opportunity to wear the uniform and sing in front of all my teammates and in front of a lot of people from Venezuela and in front of my family, too, that means a lot to me. I think this is one of the best moments in my career that I’m not going to forget.”
After, Pérez tipped his cap to the crowd and waved it to both the Venezuelan players and the Astros players lined up along each baseline. Pérez said his teammates had been urging him to sing.
“They always told me, ‘Are you sure you’re going to do it?’ and I said, ‘Yes,’” he said. “I know that I can do it and I’m scared to speak in front of people. I love to sing. It’s something that just comes from my mouth naturally, and I just tried to enjoy that time.”
Pérez said he enjoys singing in the offseason while he’s at home and hanging out with his family, but this was the first time he’s sang in front of a lot of people.
“I really loved singing the national anthem for my country,” he said. “It’s a love for me and a love for all the people back there in Venezuela. It feels pretty good."
This will be Pérez's second time playing in the Classic. His first came in 2017, when Venezuela finished eighth.
Pérez is coming off a career year in his second stint with Texas, earning his first All-Star appearance while posting a career-best 2.89 ERA over 196 1/3 innings. He hopes to bring that to Team Venezuela, which has never finished higher than third place in the Classic (2009).
Venezuela will be competing in Pool D in Miami, along with Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Israel and Nicaragua. Venezuela opens WBC play on Saturday night against the Dominican Republic.