Letter to Commissioner Bud Selig
February 20, 2009
Dear Commissioner Bud Selig,
I am writing you today to give you some opinions, facts and hopefully some impulse to charge forward in this situation. I am sorry Commissioner, I am not writing about PED’s, rain-shortened World Series games, or even the dreaded salary cap issue that might be giving you nightmares. What has taken my mind to such lengths that I feel it must be addressed is this situation where baseball players from outside the borders of the North American countries and Puerto Rico are held to such a high level of integrity and honestly, but we have failed out warm breezed cousins to the south.
The actions of few have impoverished the many in the Tropical belt of the Caribbean and South America. It is a land where a single soul can command the intentions and the dreams of hundreds that love to play our national past time, and we just treat them as hired help. The fact that a single buscone or ” finder” can manipulate the system to become an instant millionaire on the sweat and blood of young boys yearning to fulfill the dreams of Roberto Clemente, or David Ortiz. How can we, as one of the biggest and baddest countries on the face of this earth stand back and let third world politics decree what player get a chance, and which one is destined to poverty.
You can make a huge difference in this situation Commissioner, you can be the guy who changed the regions history with baseball. In this country people line up at small stores to purchase a Lottery ticket that might be their ticket out of their country and penniless environment. You can be the beacon that makes it all sane again and brings the same order to the Tropic belt that past commissioners and image makers have to produce rules, regulations and even establish a draft system with players ouytside the confines of the current system. I am not asking for this in 2010, or even within the next 3 years. I know that you will need the backing of one of the most powerful men in baseball with you.
I am also sending a letter to Donald Fehr of the Major League Baseball Players Association asking that both administrative branches of this great sports combine energies to promote, provide and institute future avenues for players outside this country to be treated the same as the players we acquire via our current amateur draft system. I know that it will be consuming hours of dialogue, mountains of correspondence, and endless phone calls, but isn’t history of our game worth that sweat and struggle. The game has evolved so much on the field in the last 25 years, shouldn’t our focus now be on the souls left behind by this progress.
Think about it Commissioner, you can be the savior of millions of future baseball players that will be discovered in MLB-sanctioned Baseball Academies set up in the early 2000’s by many of your teams with the intent to discover new talent and to input themselves into new talent streams in other countries. We have seen the first two players from India signed this year to MLB contracts. We have seen a Japanese woman signed to a minor league contract. Why not give future rising stars in this hot bed of talent a chance to come on board with respected representation, and loose the stress of wondering if documentation, or even money has changed hands before a signature is even obtained.
Can you honestly say you have not felt the disgust and the embarrassment of the past few years when countless players are found to be illegally obtained by doctored birth certificates, name changes, or simple taking another person’s name for the sake of the game’s paychecks and prestige. I know that agents have been called the leeches of the modern athlete, but they do not suck dry the blood of their clients the way some of these buscones or even family advisers do in this area of the world. Every year more players come clean about the falsifications of their pasts, and we just slap their hands and let them fall back into line.
With establishing a set of rules and regulations and letting them have an ample picking of these great athletes, you might also begin a path to parity, which will help the teams grow more equal and competitive and make for a more excitement league come the first days of April every season. By expelling the demons that pry on these players and their families we are ridding society of a parasite that needs to be exterminated, eradicated and made extinct. Commissioner, you can be the man that will be held up in future talks as the “man who brought baseball and the world together through equality”. That would be a legacy that would transcend anything else you have done as Commissioner of Baseball.
You would be remembered in the town of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic as the man who made fair and equal laws for everyone to play this great game. Baseball has been diligent in the past trying to erase these evils and bring honesty to the region. When we established a home base in the Dominican to combat these false records and documentations, still players funneled into the country and were exposed later. Underage players were found out and returned to their countries if they had not at least reached the age of 17. Can you imagine spending even a month in a country like the U S after living in lesser condition in your home country.
Commissioner, you can be the man who is at the forefront of this movement to show that we are through with the lies and deceptions, that truth should be the common language and that players should be rewarded for their talents, not placed like meat in a showcase to be selected by the big money teams. In closing Commissioner, I ask of you that we finally end this tyranny of the few that prey on the weak and poor who only want to play baseball in our country. By establishing at least a dialogue to begin constructing a World Amateur Draft, we can show the entire world that baseball can overcome more than just money and power, but can improve lives and establish fair play beyond just the field.
I know I am only one person writing this to you, but a single voice in the dark can lead you into the light. If we are to keep moving forward as a sport, we have to take other sports lead on the outside countries rights to fairness and equality. the best way to show that is tp point to the NBA, which drafts players from around the world. There is the prime example for you to use if you want to leave a legacy no one can tear down. If you really want to leave this sport in a way that generations will remember your name, taking on the equality of the Tropics in baseball related matters might be a giant step for your immortality.
Thank you again Commissioner for your time in reading this letter, and hope to see you someday soon again at Tropicana Field. I am just someone who loves this sport, and only wants to see it grow into a world wide phenomenon.
cc: United States President Barack Obama, Washington Post, New York Times, St Petersburg Times, Matt Silverman, Presdient of the Tampa Bay Rays Baseball Club, Donald Fehr, Executive Director of the MLBPA.