Recommended reading: “Commie Ball”
Michael Lewis writes a long piece for Vanity Fair on Cuban baseball players and the conviction of Gus Dominguez. Check it out.
ObMarinersTie: Betancourt’s contract with the Mariners results in Gus Dominguez’s kids being threatened and, later, Betancourt’s varied stories and unwillingness to testify on Dominguez’s behalf leads to his conviction. Long quote on page seven:
it was the smugglerâ€™s word against the agentâ€™s, and there was really only one person who might have broken the tie: Yuniesky Betancourt. The Dominguez side never called him as a witness, mainly because they had no idea what he might say. Heâ€™d already told three different stories, two of them to immigration agents, about how and when heâ€™d come to the United States. He declined to return phone calls, and slammed the door in the face of the private eye theyâ€™d hired to track him down. As his former agent went to trial, VÃctor Mesaâ€™s old shortstop was back in Seattle, playing in their home opener. And on top of it all, heâ€™d unwittingly provided the U.S. government with an explanation for why Gus Dominguez needed to smuggle ballplayers in from Cuba: to make back the money heâ€™d lost on Betancourtâ€”for, having stiffed his smugglers, Betancourt then stiffed the agent who had fed and housed him for six months. He signed the contract with the Mariners that Dominguez had negotiated on his behalf, but paid whatever commission he paid to someone else. (A grievance regarding the allocation of the commission is ongoing.) The money Dominguez lost on Betancourt, the U.S. government argued, threw his business into disarray. He became desperateâ€”so desperate that he ordered up five more players from Cuba.