Omar the snake charmer
Vizquel spent offseason hunting down anaconda in Venezuela
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Big-game hunter Omar Vizquel was a big hit in the Rangers clubhouse on Friday.
This was something out of Wild Kingdom or Animal Planet. Jeff Corwin or Steve Irwin would have loved this.
Dozens of Rangers players were gathered around a computer on Friday morning, watching a video of Vizquel and his companion capture an 11-foot anaconda snake in the wilds of Venezuela. The snake was at least twice as long as Vizquel is tall.
"Geez, are you crazy?" Josh Hamilton said, staring at the video.
"I just wanted to do it," Vizquel said. "My dream has always been to catch an anaconda."
So there Vizquel was during the offseason, he and a tour guide, in the Venezuelan wilderness region of Apura, wrestling a slithering, menacing and quite annoyed anaconda.
"Yeah I was a little scared," Vizquel said. "Those snakes can eat an alligator. That's why I wanted to go, to face my fears."
They captured the snake and took it back to base camp to show it to some German and Canadian tourists.
"The camp doesn't allow you to kill snakes," Vizquel said. "It's a wildlife refuge. So we let it go. People go there just to look at them. We were lucky. It took us only four hours, and we found one on the side of the road. Some people go two days without seeing one."
His teammates watched with their eyes wide and jaws slack.
"Wow," Hamilton said. "If I see a little-bitty snake, I go...Aaaaaaaaahhh!"
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.