With the imminent call-up of Henry Urrutia and yesterday’s signing of Cuban defector Dariel Alvarez, it got me to thinking about something for the first time-ever.
Is it OK for our baseball team to sign these players who defect from Cuba and essentially show up here in the U.S. by leaving their home country without permission, per-se?
Even further, is it OK for Major League Baseball, in general, to be an employment landing-spot for these Cuban players who leave their country and arrive here without the proper documentation in place to begin working?
I mean, after all, isn’t that the hoopla surrounding Edward Snowden right now? I get it, he isn’t a baseball player, but he has essentially done the same thing as these Cuban players. He’s in another country right now – with no paperwork – asking for political asylum. And we, the government, want him back here, pronto.
Doesn’t Cuba want those players back?
They must not be overly concerned about it, or else they wouldn’t schedule trips to the United States to play baseball in the first place. Just this week, a team of Cuban players showed up in Des Moines, Iowa for an exhibition game and sure enough, about three hours after they arrived, Misael Siverio walked out of their team hotel and wasn’t seen again until he made a statement later that day he was, in fact, defecting.
If the Cuban government was worried about losing these guys, they wouldn’t even come here in the first place.
It’s confusing — to me at least — that we so easily accept these baseball players in the United States, especially if they are arriving “without paperwork” (which, to me, means they’re “illegal”).
Then again, I never really thought about this until yesterday when news of Urrutia’s call-up started to percolate.
I did some reading on it last night and the list of Cuban players who have defected over the years is massive. Many of them, of course, are very, very good players. Yeonis Cespedes just won the Home Run Derby on Monday night and Yasiel Puig is the new showstopper in MLB and he’s only 22 years old.
I get it. These Cubans are potentially great major league players and since major league teams are in the business of winning, they make for good employment acquisitions.
But are we, as fans and citizens, comfortable with them just showing up, sans visa and proper paperwork, and taking a job away from another American player?
I never gave it a moment of thought until yesterday.
Before the season started, I picked the Orioles and Dodgers to play in the World Series.
The proverbial “second half” of the season starts today in major league baseball. This gives everyone a chance to make some new predictions if their thoughts from the spring have gone off track.
Well, the Orioles are right there, but the Dodgers have labored through a difficult first three and a half months of the season.
I’m sticking with the Orioles and Dodgers.
The Birds have enough of everything to make the post-season. Their starting pitching is decent, their bullpen is mostly reliable, and their hitting is obviously strong enough. They might not win the division, but as they showed a year ago, all you have to do is get in and anything can happen from there. Ironically, I could see the Orioles and Rangers again meeting in the one-game “winner take all” wild card game, although this time I have a feeling the game will be at Camden Yards.
In the N.L. West, talent will eventually prevail and that’s how the Dodgers will wind up on top. They have too much pitching to not be the division champion when the dust settles.
Oh, and an Orioles-Dodgers World Series means we get four of the seven home games right here in Bawl-mer.
See you in October.
I’ve had some fun this week with my list of all-time top 10 bands who didn’t get enough respect. It started on Monday when I revealed the English progressive group “Yes” as #10. Tuesday it was “Blues Traveler” at #9. Wednesday it was “ELO” at #8. Thursday it was “Heart” at #7.
Today, at #6, it’s THIS BAND FROM ENGLAND, with an appropriate song for a Friday, I’d say.