If any of the recent scandals in our country have anything in common, it’s that none of them were original. Rod Blagojevich wasn’t the first politician to seek bribes. Chris Brown wasn’t the first celebrity to beat up his girl friend. And Alex Rodriguez certainly wasn’t the first athlete to use steroids.
So when you hear about the Washington Nationals ripping off ball players from the Dominican Republic for large chunks of their signing bonuses, it’s hard to believe the incident is isolated. Not even Bud Selig could possibly believe Jim Bowden was smart enough to pull this off by himself. That’s why the Commissioner needs to make it clear that any organization caught skimming from players will be punished severely.
Chances are every team in baseball would sweat from that announcement because all of them have taken advantage of players signed from Latin America. I’ll bet some of the game’s biggest stars have watched portions of their signing bonuses disappear thanks to the sleazy talent scouts who run the show in these baseball hotbeds. These are the guys who prey on young Dominicans the way scumbag AAU coaches prey on teenage basketball stars in our country.
Only here’s the difference: The majority of youth basketball players involved with rogue agents or coaches grow up in poverty; the majority of Latin American ball players grow up with NOTHING at all.
So the leeches have all the leverage in the world.
Most Latin-Born players have no concept of the English language, let alone the complexities of American contracts. If they were to so much as raise an eyebrow at one of the scouts, they know their chances of getting signed would decrease. And that’s the difference between a family having food and a family starving.
But now that we know there’s a problem, now that we know, as FanHouse’s Kevin Blackistone wrote, that scouts are acting as pimps, the Commissioner should step in and prevent this from happening to more young players, right?
Unfortunately, when you’re dealing with Selig, you’re dealing with a man who lives in a state of denial that would make even the worst alcoholic look honest. This is a guy who still refuses to admit knowing about steroids even when virtually every guy in the sport started looking like WWE wrestlers.
And in this case, he’s got a built-in excuse. The Milwaukee Brewers, the team he once owned, is the only franchise without a baseball academy in the Dominican Republic. As we’ve learned, if it didn’t happen in front of Bud, then it didn’t happen at all.
So now we’ll wait for the Feds to blow the cover off this case the way Jose Canseco did with steroids. They’re already starting. Soon players will come forward, lawsuits will follow and just like that, we’ll have another league-wide scandal.
That’s when we’ll hear how shocked the Commissioner is and how he never saw any of this when he was an owner.
That’s just Bud being Bud.