Is it Time to Get Players Out of the Dominican Republic?

Waking up this morning to notification after notification telling me that Yordano Ventura had passed away was a extremely sobering way to wake up. The same way I woke up when Yorman Landa passed away earlier this winter. The same way I woke up in October 2014 when Oscar Tavares died in another car crash. It is becoming something that major league teams are increasingly having to deal with. I believe that it is time for Major League baseball to set a mandate on going back to the Dominican Republic.

Major League Baseball has put a mandate on a whole bunch of things. Just this offseason, baseball has banned all future MLB players from using Chewing Tobacco while at the ball park, and rookies are no longer allowed to be dressed up. Former major league player LaTroy Hawkins on that subject said "What a shame. I did it and everyone before me did it as well... it was a gesture from the vets that I Had MADE IT." So Major League baseball is taking positive steps to protect their players and it's own image. This is good right? Then why on a more frequent basis are we losing players who go back home to the Dominican Republic. Is there anything that we can do to fix this? I believe that there is, but first you need to understand why these players put themselves in these circumstances.

MLB teams are allowed to start signing sixteen and seventeen year old kids internationally on July second of every year. Some of these kids are given life changing money at such young ages. When they sign, they play for a academy in their respective countries for a year or two while they learn english and finish high school. After that, they receive visas and such and come over to America to begin the grind to get to major league baseball. If you want to see a outstanding documentary on this, watch Ballplayer: Pelotero, a movie that follows young players in the Dominican Miguel Sano and Jean Carlos Batista. But once these players come to America, they do not have permanent homes. In the minors they will live with host families or in team apartments. But in the offseason they go back to their home countries where they have a home. Because of this precedent set while in the minors, even the lucky few that become staples in Major league baseball continue with what they know and rent an apartment or a house during the season and then go home during the offseason. As a baseball fan, this trend needs to stop. The MLBPA made a big mistake not addressing this in this most recent cba, and absolutely needs to address this as soon as they can.

According to Business Insider the average MLB majority owner has a net worth of around 2.1 billion dollars. That is enough money to absolutely make this idea a reality. Here is my idea for fixing the problem the Major League Baseball is facing. When the young Dominican/Venezuelan/Cuban player is signed to a contract they spend up to two more years in the country in the academy. With this time, I believe that Major league baseball from a social, and from a business perspective, should help the immediate family of these players transition to America so that when their son's/brothers make the move to America, then so does his family, if they haven't already made that move. This way teams can rationally start asking their players not to go back to these countries during the offseason. I understand that this is hardly fair for the players, but at the same time, these players are an investment from the owners. To protect their investments, keeping them in America during the offseason seems to be a step in the right direction. Obviously these players are humans and are going to make bad decisions no matter where they are (I.E. Jose Fernandez). But waking up and seeing that unbelievably talented young men passed away in a country that appears to be less safe than the one that we call home (as scary as our own country may be at times). And this isn't just car accidents. Who knows how many Wilson Ramos instances we haven't heard about because they player paid off assailants or fought them off. It's an imperfect world with imperfect people, but these players deserve better.

If you have any ideas, post in the comment section or tweet at us @ViewFTS1

Take a minute to remember these young men, and appreciate the life that you are fortunate enough to live

Oscar Tavares

Jose Fernandez

Yorman Landa

Andy Marte

Yordano Ventura