Some insight into the human smuggling of Cubans into the United States

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Here’s a story about the sentencing of the ringleader of a human smuggling operation which brought people from Cuba, through Mexico and into the United States. Including ballplayers like the Rangers’ Leonys Martin:

The Lazo organization smuggled Cubans by boat to Mexico for $10,000 each, more for the baseball players, according to court documents. They would then usually travel to the U.S. border crossing at Laredo, Texas, and ask to be permitted to stay in the U.S. . . . Assistant U.S. Attorney Ron Davidson said migrants who couldn’t pay were held for ransom by armed guards, often threatened and sometimes beaten.

A key part of this is that U.S. policy — both the country’s and Major League Baseball’s — help create the circumstances for these kinds of crimes and excesses. The United States’ “wet foot/dry foot” rule which has us deporting Cuban refugees if intercepted at sea but not if they try to enter the U.S. on land encourages people to come through Mexico if they can. Major League Baseball’s policy subjecting Cubans who come directly to the United States from Cuba but allowing them to be free agents if they land in another country first likewise incentivizes this circuitous route.

In both cases, that empowers the middle men who, in this case, happened to be Mexican drug cartels.

Aaron Judge has a “pretty significant strain” of his oblique

Aaron Judge
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In case you missed it over the weekend, the New York Yankees suffered yet another huge blow when another huge star went on the injured list. The star: Aaron Judge, who strained his oblique during Saturday’s 9-2 win over the Royals.

Yesterday the Yankees placed him on the injured list. In so doing, Yankees manager Aaron Boone called it a “pretty significant strain in there.” The team did not offer a timeline, but Boone said they’ll monitor Judge for a couple of weeks to see where he is. Oblique strains, however, can cause a player to miss a lot of time. Four to six weeks is not unheard of for even moderate oblique strains. Guys with major strains have missed months.

Judge is the Yankees’ 13th player currently on the injured list and is the 14th Yankees player to visit it overall on the young season. Joining him there at the moment :

It’s an All-Star team’s worth of injuries. It’s such a good group of players that Ellsbury couldn’t even make the starting lineup of the all-injured team.

Though we often ignore it in season-long narratives of successful and unsuccessful teams, choosing to focus on great or poor performances, the fact of the matter is that team health is almost always a big, big factor in who wins and who loses. No one is going to cry for the Yankees here, of course, but at some point there are just too many injuries to overcome. One has to wonder if New York has reached that point yet.