Crisis throws curve ball at opening of Venezuelan baseball

Venezuela's beloved Winter League baseball season has opened with hundreds of cheering fans converging on the stadium in Caracas and elsewhere throughout the crisis-torn South American nation

CARACAS, Venezuela -- Maria Graciela Briceno and her two best friends squeezed into their seats behind home plate at the baseball stadium in Venezuela's capital, knowing this season's opening game wouldn't measure up to past years.

A deepening crisis has left her nation in shambles, and a recent curve ball from the Trump administration prevented big league players in Major League Baseball from taking the field, stripping away star power that fans have come to expect over decades.

Briceno, a 30-year-old makeup artist, said little would keep her from the stadium.

Venezuela's beloved Winter League baseball season opened Tuesday. Tough economic times have shortened the season by a third of its games and it started weeks late.