Venezuela native Munoz finds home with Mallards
MADISON, Wis. — The Madison Mallards are in their 12th season as a franchise in the Northwoods league. Over that time, players from all over the country have come to Madison for summer baseball.
But one player on this years team has journeyed all the way from South America just for a chance at a better life.
Spend a little time with the Mallards this summer and you can’t help but notice the energy of Luis Munoz.
“My game is so happy, everyday I bring energy in the game and play hard for every game is play hard,” said the 19-year-old infielder.
“He does things that traditional baseball guys do not do. It’s always fun to see what he can bring to the game each night,” said second-year Mallards Manager Greg Labbe.
Munoz’ journey to Madison has spanned nearly 3,000 miles. He is originally from Venezuela. He came to the United States for the first time in January to play at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas. Now his baseball has taken him to Madison for the summer with the Mallards.
“Venezuela life is so difficult and the U.S. is better,” said Munoz.
Munoz is still learning English, so that can make for some interesting moments on the baseball field.
“It is always interesting to find out whether or not Luis has any idea what you said. You know when you tell him Luis you need to bunt here and he doesn’t bunt. You have no idea why because he has no idea what you just told him so there is a language barrier, but he has a sense of what to do on the field and he’s a good teammate and the guys like being around him,” said Labbe.15500108
“He is more vocal and not afraid to speak up, and you might not understand him. He wants to be there and he is enjoying every bit of it,” said teammate Jeff Zimmerman.
Language may still be a barrier for Munoz, but baseball is an equal playing field and everyone speaks a universal language.
“He is challenged by it every day but you have to admire it the courage he has to come to another country to play baseball, ” said Labbe.