Friday, November 12, 2010
People mock and deride White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. Guillen, a sharp tongued Venezuelan, who does not hew to the diktats of political correctness, has warned for years that young Latin American baseball players are exploited. They are generally from impoverished backgrounds with limited educational opportunities. Sharps, handlers, runners and their ilk take advantage of these young men repeatedly. A few years ago it was Jose Rijo and the Washington Nationals front office that was in the spotlight.
Yesterday a federal court indicted David Wilder, a former White Sox scouting executive, and two former White Sox scouts, Jorge L. Oquendo Rivera and Victor Mateo. Charges include accepting about $400,000 to sign twenty-three prospects in Latin America between 2004 and 2008, accepting kickbacks from signing bonuses and contract buyouts, deliberately targeting players from impoverished parts of Latin America. Not entirely coincidentally Major League Baseball announced yesterday, it has expanded oversight of teenage prospects in Venezuela, a similar system to the one they finally implemented in the Dominican Republic earlier this year.
Thanks to the New York Times for the heads up on these announcements.