Hoornstra: For foreign-born baseball players, coronavirus presents unique challenges

first_img“It is extremely busy,” said Clifford Chin, Senior Counsel at Berry Appleman & Leiden. “Number one, it’s what information do we have? Number two, it’s assessing the various interpretations and risks. Number three, it’s the human element. Immigration isn’t just a business. It’s affecting peoples’ lives on a personal level.” In a hypothetical book about Sports and the Coronavirus, you can imagine each of those points deserving a chapter.Last Friday, for example, the acting director of the Department of Homeland Security issued an order exempting certain foreign professional athletes from entry restrictions. If you are not a citizen of the U.S., and you were physically present in China, Iran, the United Kingdom, Ireland, or most of the European mainland, you were barred from entering the U.S. for 14 days. The new order rescinds that ban for athletes, stating “that it is in the national interest to except aliens who compete in professional sporting events … including their professional staff, team and league leadership, spouses, and dependents.”Unless they are on vacation, those countries aren’t where you’ll typically find a baseball player spending his off-season. Last year, 105 players born in the Dominican Republic made an Opening Day roster. Venezuela (68), Cuba (19), Puerto Rico (18) and Mexico (8) followed. Japan and Canada (six each) produced the most players outside of Latin America.Those countries weren’t affected by the most recent ban. But it isn’t hard to imagine a sudden COVID-19 outbreak – such as the one that engulfed Brazil in May – making travel to the U.S. from certain regions less practical, even for a professional athlete.That’s more true for minor league players, who have been paid $400 a week since the season was officially suspended in March. Foreign players who receive seven-figure signing bonuses as teenagers steal the headlines, but they are in the minority. Most Latin American minor leaguers quickly flew home once the season was suspended, rather than remain in the U.S. and try to scrape by on their meager stipend. Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Angels fail to take series in Oakland, lose in 10 innings Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Still, the agent for a Nicaraguan pitcher told me that players there are feeling less risk-averse than their American counterparts. Baseball might be their year-round job, if they compete in a winter league. Money is scarce, and they might not be trained in another field of employment. A similar problem faces foreign-born minor leaguers in major league organizations once they’re released from their contract – or those in the Oakland A’s system, who won’t be receiving their weekly stipend beginning June 1.“There will be a lot of kids not making a dime,” the agent told me. “What else do they know?”Minor league baseball players aren’t represented by a union. Neither are most players who compete only in the Latin American leagues. Still, their examples serve as a reminder of the unique interests facing the hundreds of major league players who call a foreign country home in the off-season. Now, with the potential for a season to re-start in June with expanded rosters, attitudes are changing. But flights into the U.S. from Latin America are more scarce. One agent I spoke with this week represents a minor league client who will attempt to leave Panama on a humanitarian flight in June.Several agents I spoke with noted that Venezuelan players fall in a category of their own. In March, president Nicolas Maduro was indicted in United States federal court on three separate conspiracy charges – the latest wrinkle in the country’s political turmoil. With players reluctant to return home under these circumstances, many have been living and training at their team complexes in the Dominican Republic. At least one Venezuelan minor leaguer has been living with his minor league manager in the U.S.Consider the players’ families too. This became a sticking point early in negotiations between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players’ Association, when the league proposed quarantining players in a centralized location for an entire season. MLB’s most recent proposal to the union wouldn’t keep players apart from their families during the hypothetical 2020 season. But what if your family lives overseas during the off-season and was planning to relocate for six months? What if the season isn’t six months long anymore?As one agent told me, “A couple of my guys have said, ‘if we’re going to play three months, I’m not going to bring my wife and kids. They can be home and stay safe. Why have them stuck at a house or a hotel?’ Every guy’s going to be different on that.”Back to those various tiers of risk. A cardiologist in the Dominican Republic reportedly sampled 314 residents of Villa Juana, a neighborhood in the capital city of Santo Domingo. Forty percent of the tests came back positive for Covid-19, a number that was disputed by the country’s minister of health.Even if the actual rate of infection is lower on a city-, district-, or nation-wide level, the report contributed to doubts over the accuracy of state-reported testing in Latin American countries. Earlier this month, an outbreak of COVID-19 in Nicaragua forced the postponement of that country’s baseball season. Several players tested positive. One coach, Carlos Aranda, died from the disease.Related Articlescenter_img Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter The novel coronavirus had the potential to unite the world around a common enemy. In the United States, that potential quickly disintegrated. Race, age, geography, and occupational-based hazards divided us into various tiers of risk. Some of us protested. Some of us lost our jobs, or sizable portions of our paychecks. Others – reportedly 100,000 and counting – have died as a result of COVID-19.Sports usually serves as a distraction from these kinds of headlines. Now, it is serving as a microcosm of how a not-so-common enemy strikes us all differently.Each Opening Day, Major League Baseball issues a press release detailing where its players come from. Last year, a total of 251 players represented 20 different countries and territories outside of the United States. Minor league rosters are no less diverse. So what happens to players when the United States closes its borders entirely to certain countries? Or when a foreign country closes its borders altogether, as is the case in the Dominican Republic?If you’re an immigration attorney who represents MLB teams and athletes, what happens is you get inundated with questions. Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire last_img read more

Narciso “Chicho” Garcia, Wellington: Nov. 2, 1952 – Jan. 14, 2015

first_imgChicho GarciaNarciso “Chicho” Garcia, of Wellington died Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas at the age of 62.Narciso was born the son of Julia and Ismael Garcia Cano on Sunday, November 02, 1952 in Montemorelos, Mexico.On April 20, 1979, Chicho and Maria Cortez were united in marriage at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Wichita. Together they celebrated 35 years of marriage.In 2000, Chicho and Maria moved their family from the Houston area to Wellington to own and operate Fabiola’s Mexican Restaurant. Whether in Wichita or Wellington, Chicho and his family were loved and respected by many.Survivors include his loving wife, Maria Garcia of Wellington, five daughters: Marissol Montalvo (Tony) of Alvin, Texas, Kristina Garcia (Azael Renova) of Wichita, Mayra Vazquez (Raul) of Wellington, Soffia Garcia of Wellington and Thalia Garcia of Wellington, two grandchildren: Isabella and Antonio Montalvo of Alvin, Texas, sister, Elida Segovia of Mexico, brother, Fernando Garcia (Gloria) of Houston, Texas, sister, Eglantina Robles (John, Jr.) of Spring, Texas, brother, Ismael G. Garcia of Wichita, sister, Eudalia Medrano (Juan) of Donna, Texas and sister, Elsa Alanis of Mexico. He was preceded in death by his mother, Julia Garcia, father, Ismael Garcia and sister, Rosa Ramos.A viewing will be held at Day Funeral Home from 9 a.m .to 5 p.m., Sunday, January 18, 2015.Recitation of the Holy Rosary and Vigil Service will begin at 7 p.m., Sunday, January 18, 2015 at St. Anthony/St. Rose Catholic Church, Wellington.Funeral Mass for Chicho will be held at 10 a.m., Monday, January 19, 2015 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, Wichita.Interment will follow at Resurrection Cemetery in Wichita.A memorial fund has been established for his youngest daughter, Thalia.  Contributions may be given to the Thalia Garcia Education Fund and can be mailed or left with the funeral home.To share a memory or leave condolences, please visit www.dayfuneralhome.info.Arrangements are by Day Funeral Home & Crematory, Wellington.last_img read more