And here you thought ‘Bachelor’ Juan Pablo Galavis was just a pretty face!
Juan Pablo Galavis sported a plain, gray t-shirt and jeans as he observed batting practice Friday afternoon at Progressive Field. He left the baseball gear, including his Omar Vizquel jersey, at home. He even left his Argentina soccer jersey behind for the big weekend.
An American-born Venezuelan, Galavis was featured on this season’s “Bachelor,” a reality television show in which a male celebrity takes different women on dates and eventually selects the woman of his choice. Each week, the bachelor gathers the women in the same room and distributes roses to those who are “safe”; those who do not receive a rose, on the other hand, are instructed to say their goodbyes.
Galavis, a native of Ithaca, N.Y., made his third visit to Progressive Field this weekend to witness fellow Venezuelan and former Tribe shortstop Omar Vizquel’s Hall of Fame induction.
Galavis works for the Venezuelan Baseball Hall of Fame, and he travels to various ballparks throughout the season to follow all of the Venezuelan big leaguers.
His gray shirt was all he had that would represent his neutral stance on this weekend’s rivalry series and World Cup matches.
“I’m like Switzerland; I’m like everybody,” he said. “When I come to work, I’m not a team player. I come to see all the guys. I came to see Asdrubal [Cabrera] and Miguel Cabrera and Omar Vizquel’s big day.
“I’m a baseball fan; I work for the Baseball Hall of Fame, so I cheer for all the Venezuelan guys. It’s funny because if there’s a Venezuelan guy pitching and a Venezuelan guy batting, I cheer for the hit and then the double play.”
Several years ago, Galavis heard about a young Venezuelan boy, Carlos Daniel, who lost his battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease and died in 1994. The boy, who grew up to be a sports writer, had such a passion for baseball that his family eventually established the Venezuelan Baseball Hall of Fame in his honor.
“He was a very big fan of baseball; he wrote books on baseball and all of that. When I saw [Daniel’s] video, that’s when I decided to start working for [the HOF],” Galavis said. “The only active player that knew Carlos Daniel was Omar, so that was my first trip — to the Chicago White Sox.”
Since that original introduction in 2011, the two have been great friends. Galavis, 32, visited Progressive Field last season for Vizquel’s bobblehead day, and he decided to return to support him as he is inducted into the Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame this weekend.
He said he hopes Vizquel will one day join former Venezuelan shortstop Luis Aparicio in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.
“For Venezuelans and for people my age who got to see him play, he’s the best player [Venezuela has] ever had; he’s the best shortstop we’ve ever had,” he said. “We hope in a few years, Omar can be in Cooperstown, also.
“He was a magician; every time there was a ground ball to the shortstop, we knew he was going to catch it and throw the guy out.”
A former professional soccer player, Galavis said he managed to squeeze this trip in despite several great World Cup matches this weekend.
“I watched the games before I came to the stadium, [and] I watched some of the games in the clubhouse with the players. The one I wanted to watch today was at noon, so that was good,” he said. “You juggle between the stadium and the games. It all depends on what games are on; you come later or you come earlier to the stadium.”
As for his World Cup predictions? Well, he isn’t exactly neutral.
“I want Argentina to win,” he said. “USA is doing pretty good; I like them. Columbia has played very good. Italy played so-so today; Germany — very, very good.”
In the meantime, Galavis will continue to wear his neutral gray and support his good friend, who will undoubtedly leave town as a winner in Galavis’ mind.
“I didn’t bring one; I didn’t bring a rose,” he said. “If you find a rose, I’ll give [Vizquel] one.”
-TribeVibe contributor Megan Golden