ugueth urbina

Ugueth Urbina is out of prison — and allegedly throwing 90


Roy Hobbs said that some mistakes you never stop paying for. He apparently wasn’t talking about attacking the help with a machete and pouring gasoline on them, because you do stop paying for that. After about seven years or so:

That tweet is from for major league pitcher Ugueth Urbina’s son Juan Urbina standing with Ugueth himself. The son is saying “Finally with my father!” Juan Urbina, by the way, is a 19 year-old pitcher in the Mets’ system.

This courtesy of our friend Nick Collias, who tells me that Venezuelan newspapers are reporting that Urbina is out of jail after serving a little over seven years for attempted murder. Urbina was sentenced to 14 years, but no one is quite sure why he was released early.

Urbina pitched from 1995 through 2005 with the Expos, Tigers, Red Sox, Rangers, Phillies and Marlins. He twice saved 40 games or more and was still an effective pitcher, aged 31, at the time of his arrest and incarceration. He turns 39 in February, but unless the Venezuelan prison system has an intense baseball program, we probably won’t be hearing from him again in the majors.

UPDATE: NOT SO FAST! Nick Collias updates us:

Alexander Mendoza at El Nacional reported this morning that Urbina’s fastball was still touching 90 while he was playing in the pen in Venezuela. Juan Vicente Zerpa, the general manager of the Leones de Escogido (Urbina’s old haunt in the winter leagues) said after welcoming Urbina back to society, “I heard that he’s going to come to the park and we’re going to have a conversation.” Kind of ominous-sounding, no? If this were a Scorcese movie, I’d be wary.

So it would seem that all of your “heh, the Marlins are gonna sign him now” jokes may not be so funny after all!

Just kidding, they’ll still be hilarious.

The international draft is all about MLB making money and the union selling out non-members

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - MARCH 13:  A fan flies the Dominican Republic flag during the game against Cuba during Round 2 of the World Baseball Classic on March 13, 2006 at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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On Monday we passed along a report that Major League Baseball and the MLBPA are negotiating over an international draft. That report — from ESPN’s Buster Olney — cited competitive balance and the well-being of international free agents as the reasons why they’re pushing for the draft.

We have long doubted those stated motivations and said so again in our post on Monday. But we’re just armchair skeptics when it comes to this. Ben Badler of Baseball America is an expert. Perhaps the foremost expert on international baseball, international signings and the like. Today he writes about a would-be international draft and he tears MLB, the MLBPA and their surrogates in the media to shreds with respect to their talking points.

Of course Badler is a nice guy so “tearing to shreds” is probably putting it too harshly. Maybe it’s better to say that he systematically dismantles the stated rationale for the international draft and makes plan what’s really going on: MLB is looking to save money and the players are looking to sell out non-union members to further their own bargaining position:

Major League Baseball has long wanted an international draft. The driving force behind implementing an international draft is for owners to control their labor costs by paying less money to international amateur players, allowing owners to keep more of that money . . . the players’ association doesn’t care about international amateur players as anything more than a bargaining chip. It’s nothing discriminatory against foreign players, it’s just that the union looks out for players on 40-man rosters. So international players, draft picks in the United States and minor leaguers who make less than $10,000 in annual salary get their rights sold out by the union, which in exchange can negotiate items like a higher major league minimum salary, adjustments to the Super 2 rules or modifying draft pick compensation attached to free agent signings.

Badler then walks through the process of how players are discovered, scouted and signed in Latin America and explains, quite convincingly, how MLB’s international draft and, indeed, its fundamental approach to amateurs in Latin America is lacking.

Read this. Then, every time a U.S.-based writer with MLB sources talks about the international draft, ask whether they know something Ben Badler doesn’t or, alternatively, whether they’re carrying water for either the league or the union.

President Bill Murray speaks about the Cubs from the White House

CHICAGO - APRIL 12:  Celebrity Bill Murray clowns around with Chicago media before the opening day game between the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 12, 2004 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Pirates defeated the Cubs 13-2.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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I don’t know why Bill Murray is in Washington today. I don’t know why he’s at the White House. But I do know that he was there in Chicago Cubs gear, standing at the lectern in the press briefing room, voicing his full confidence in the Cubs prevailing in the NLCS, despite the fact that Clayton Kershaw is going for the Dodgers tomorrow night.

“Too many sticks,” president Murray said of the Cubs lineup. And something about better trees in Illinois.

Four. More. Years.