THE NEWBERG REPORT — FEBRUARY 16, 2007
Some things that bother me:
1. Kat O’Brien’s story in yesterday’s Star-Telegram that righthanders Omar Beltre and Alexi Ogando are once again expected to be denied entry into the United States for what amounts to their gullibility. There’s no denying that both were guilty of involvement in a marriage-visa scandal in the Dominican Republic two winters ago. They, along with dozens of other young Dominican ballplayers, were allegedly offered a few thousand dollars by a Dominican crime ring to say they’d married women they didn’t even know, effectively permitting those women to enter the U.S. on the players’ work visas.
But two years later, wouldn’t it stand to reason that the punishment had sufficiently fit the crime? It’s not as if Beltre or Ogando or any of the other players caught up in the scheme are threats to society. Naïve and guilty of terrible judgment, yes. But were their bad decisions worthy of the restraint of a livelihood for two years and who knows how many more?
Would we even be talking about this in a baseball blog if the 25-year-old Beltre wasn’t considered capable of contributing in the big leagues right now and if the 23-year-old Ogando wasn’t touching 100 mph with command, less than a year after converting from Athletics outfielder to Rangers pitcher?
Probably not. If Beltre or Ogando weren’t talented enough to make news as pitching prospects, they probably wouldn’t be making news locally at all. And that’s sorta sad.
But it bothers me that the story on those two, it seems, is that their quarantine continues, without any hint of better news.
2. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES-Agreed to terms with LHP Fabio Castro on a one-year contract (Feb. 15).
That should have been a Texas Rangers move.
3. This weather. Enough already.
4. That I sent a news flash out Wednesday that, among other things, reported that Texas signed righthander Jose Vargas to a minor league contract with an invitation to big league camp. I’d already reported the Vargas signing — three and a half months ago. The only news yesterday was the invite.
5. That NBC is all but canceling “Studio 60,” shoving it aside indefinitely after two more episodes air. The “Sports Night”/”Carnivale” trifecta is complete.
6. That Pitchers and Catchers, many of which have already migrated to Surprise, haven’t actually Reported yet.