WH blocks agreement to let Cuban baseball players come to US.
Last week, Cuba’s baseball league said 34 players eligible for US teams—meaning about $2.5M paid to Cuban baseball in release fees.
WH doesn’t want Cuban govt to profit off America’s pastime.https://t.co/0w9yyU14et
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) April 8, 2019
Every day is a new opportunity to fuck something up. To make something worse for vulnerable people out of spite and habit. To be GREAT. https://t.co/7DsOLp99VN
— David Roth (@david_j_roth) April 9, 2019
Rich sportsball team owners & other creeps, not to mention being racist, Trump loves. Brown people (however gifted) from ‘Mexican’ countries, not so much. I didn’t know the backstory here, which is why I am gratful to Dave Roth at Deadspin:
For decades, every Cuban-born player in Major League Baseball arrived in the United States only at the end of a long and dangerous extralegal process. That process was, by its nature, run exclusively by and mostly for the benefit of an international collection of creeps, from violent criminal gangs to lawyers who knew what questions not to ask. All of which is a strange thing to remember when, say, watching José Abreu line an unremarkable two-out single to right—that man had to eat a fake Haitian passport on a flight to the United States. Yasiel Puig was held hostage at a dingy hotel in Mexico by smugglers while they attempted to sell him to the highest bidder, and then he was kidnapped from those smugglers by other criminals, and then some time later he was traded by the Dodgers to the Reds in an offseason salary dump to create room for the Dodgers to sign A.J. Pollock. Even as these players slip over time into the background noise of baseball, the fact of all this is there. “There is only one way for a Cuban player to get to the U.S.” a lawyer for one of the men who smuggled Abreu out of Cuba said in 2017. “They have to escape.”
It’s just one of those fucked-up things. A deal made last year between Major League Baseball and the Cuban Baseball Federation that would allow Cuban players to come to the United States without first escaping from the island and formally defecting was designed to address it. On Monday, the Trump State Department rejected it.
Business is business, and so there was a great deal of sketchy shit inherent even in the deal between MLB and FCB that sought to drag this scuzzy process aboveboard. But where the men who smuggled Abreu into the United States wanted 25 percent of his future earnings, the deal between MLB and FCB simply worked out a two-tiered system for Cuban players that was modeled on the posting system that MLB has with Japan’s NPB. Many of the immigration-related hoops that slowed the process down in the past were still in effect, but the sinister shit had been mitigated—Cuban players would still have to apply for U.S. work visas from a third foreign country, but they would no longer require the services of gangsters and smugglers to get there. FCB teams would receive a fee from MLB teams for the players they sold to the Majors, and Cuban nationals would pay Cuban income taxes on their MLB earnings. They would also, crucially, be able to return to their home country…
Anyway, all of this was subject to State Department approval, and on Monday—days after the FCB released a list of 34 young players that would be allowed to sign with MLB teams—the Trump State Department announced that it did not approve of the deal. This was always a possibility, both because of specific longstanding conservative grievances with Cuba—Florida Senator Marco Rubio called the deal “both illegal and immoral” after it was announced—and because of the general atavistic grievance and hostility that defines the current administration. The stated issues with the deal were amorphous …
As has been said before: With Trump and his administration, the cruelty is the point. Play ball!