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If you’re a fan of baseball, you don’t want to miss this blog post! We’ve got the inside scoop on the preparations for the World Baseball Classic, and the story comes straight from Omar López, who will be leading Venezuela through it. López has been preparing for this moment for six long years, taking notes and getting ready to lead his country’s team to victory. And with a roster featuring stars like Jose Altuve, Miguel Cabrera, and Gleyber Torres, Venezuela has a real shot at winning the tournament.

In fact, López has been so immersed in the World Baseball Classic that he’s spent much of his time since the Astros won the World Series on roster construction and planning for the future. He’ll get his first chance to lead Venezuela against his own team on Wednesday, in an exhibition game against the Astros at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. López admits that the lead up to the tournament has been a little stressful, as he’s been hoping none of his players get hurt. But so far, so good.

Aside from the stress, López is excited to be sharing this experience with his players. He wants to make sure that they’re ready to give 100% of whatever percentage of readiness they have, and that they’re working hard to keep moving forward. The World Baseball Classic is an extension of Spring Training, and López wants his team to have fun and enjoy it.

Even Astros bench coach Joe Espada is rooting for López and his team, except when they play Puerto Rico. Espada knows how hard López has worked to put everything together, from the team’s uniforms to their travel arrangements. And López’s experience managing in the Houston system, as well as in the Venezuelan Winter League, has prepared him well for this moment.

But most importantly, López knows his players. He was one of the scouts who recommended that the Astros sign Jose Altuve, and he’s managed him before. Altuve says he knows how hard López works and how much he wants to win. He’s confident that López’s knowledge of baseball and ability to build relationships between players will work in their favor.

So, there you have it. If you want to stay up to date on the World Baseball Classic, keep an eye on López and his star-studded roster. We’re rooting for them!