Parts of this interview were conducted in Spanish and have been translated. Read it in Spanish here.
Miguel Cabrera’s baseball resume features two MVP awards, 11 All-Star game appearances, the only triple crown since 1967 and a 2003 World Series ring. But when he came to the U.S. to play, he stepped into an entirely different world from his home country of Venezuela. He struggled to order food at restaurants and to find his way through the minor league ranks to the majors.
In this interview, Cabrera talks about the differences between Venezuelan baseball, homesickness and why he chose to become a U.S. citizen.
How did baseball influence your decision to come to the United States?
Cabrera: The main reason I came to the United States was to play baseball. When my parents and my uncles taught me how to play baseball, the influence from the whole family was geared toward my understanding that the best baseball in the world is played in the United States.
Did you perceive any notable differences between clubhouses in the United States as compared to Venezuela?
Cabrera: It’s very different. Two separate worlds, two very different styles of baseball. Latin American winter ball is very different with the United States. Over there (Venezuela) we play with a lot of risk, while in the United States, baseball is played with a lot more caution, closer to the rules. They’re different. But at the end of the day, it’s still baseball. You have to put a little flavor to make it your own, and that’s what makes them very different.
Which were the three biggest culture shocks you experienced outside of the playing field? For example: opening a bank account, going to…