(Editor’s note: I thought I published this when Soriano’s Visa issues came out before)
Welcome to spring training! And along with a slew of “he’s in the best shape of his life” comments around the game, there’s the inevitable “Delayed by Visa Issue” stories. Including, as it turns out our own Rafael Soriano.
Ok, here’s what I don’t get. It isn’t as if the Report Date to spring training is a surprise to these guys. It’s pretty well publicized months in advance. How is it that every year, year after year, there’s Visa issues?? Why can’t these guys get their acts together and get these things handled in a timely manner?
A bit of googling finds this 2011 New York Times reporter (Dave Seminara) who asked and answered some of the same questions I have. But in nearly every case of a delay, the conclusion seems to either be ethical issues (delays due to brushes with the law) or paper work issues (badly filled out paperwork). Neither looks good for the player frankly. If you know you’re going to be delayed, then why not start the process early?
More reading apparently shows that getting paperwork done in a timely manner in the Dominican Republic (where the large majority of foreign-born players reside) is impossible, and that most of these delay issues are not necessarily the fault of the player. Fair enough.
(side note: read this NY Times article; did you know that Rangers hurler Alexi Ogando was banned from entering the US for 5 years as part of a Human Trafficking charge? I didn’t. That’ll explain some serious Visa delays)