Fla. House wants change in MLB Cuban player policy - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Fla. House wants change in MLB Cuban player policy

Posted: Updated:

By BRENDAN FARRINGTON
Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Major League Baseball would have to change its policy on Cuban players if the Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays want a share of state money that would be set aside for professional sports stadiums under a bill the House passed Friday.

Los Angeles Dodgers' outfielder Yasiel Puig's dangerous escape from Cuba to Mexico was the inspiration for the conditions the bill places on baseball stadium construction money.

With the exception of Canada, residents of foreign nations can negotiate with all 30 baseball teams before signing a contract, but teams aren't allowed to negotiate with Cuban players if they remain in that country because of the U.S. embargo of the communist island. And Cuban players are subject to the amateur draft if they come directly to the U.S., potentially costing them tens of millions of dollars. That's why Cuban players seek to establish residency in a third country first, often at great risk.

"Vote for this bill for every young boy in Cuba that wants a fair chance to come to this country and play baseball without having to be forced into the arms of human traffickers, smugglers and drug cartels," said Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Shalimar. "That's more important to me, frankly, than what stadium gets built."

Details of Puig's escape from Cuba were revealed recently in a lawsuit that described a dangerous journey, dealings with shady characters and Puig and a Cuban boxer being held hostage over unpaid smuggling debts. Puig, boxer Yunior Despaigne and their families have continued to receive death threats and one of the men who smuggled them out of Cuba was shot dead in Mexico, according to a story first reported in Los Angeles Magazine.

Puig signed a $42 million contract with the Dodgers.

Gaetz and Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, R-Miami, attached the language to the stadium bill after reading about Puig's story. The bill passed on a 93-16 vote. A similar Senate bill doesn't have the language regarding Cuban players.

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred said the situation with Cuban players is being discussed.

"We're just a little speck in that whole problem. But of course we have concerns, and the more I read and the more I hear, the answer is yes," Selig said when asked if he had concerns.

Manfred said MLB is talking with the players association about what could be helpful to Cuban players.

"The first question you have to ask yourself before you think about changing the rules is whether there is any difference between trafficking to the United States or trafficking to Mexico, whether the destination would change what happens to players when they try to get out of Cuba," Manfred said. "Over the long haul, what I'd say to you is it is a problem that is larger than baseball."

Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark said the union shares MLB's concern.

"We are looking forward to sitting down with MLB to discuss the issue in more detail," Clark said.

Gaetz was pleased that MLB is taking notice.

"It is encouraging that there is the will to institute needed reforms," he said. "Florida stands ready to be part of the solution."

The bill sets up criteria for professional sports to be able to access state money for stadiums. The fund could help pay for a number of proposed projects, from a professional soccer stadium in Miami to the renovation of Daytona International Speedway. The Marlins opened a new stadium last year. The Rays have been discussing the idea of building a new stadium to replace the downtown St. Petersburg dome they play in now.

The bill (HB 7095) would establish a pool of $12 million that could be spent each year, with no team or project receiving more than $2 million a year.

------

AP Sports Writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report from New York

------

Follow Brendan Farrington on Twitter: http://twitter.com/bsfarrington

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • On Deco DriveMore>>

  • Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson & Brett Ratner

    Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson & Brett Ratner

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 1:27 AM EDT2014-07-29 05:27:04 GMT
    Dwayne "The Rock" JohnsonDwayne "The Rock" Johnson
    When it comes to the movie "Hercules," the big man on screen and the bigwig behind the scenes have more than the movie in common. They share a love of the same hometown.
    When it comes to the movie "Hercules," the big man on screen and the bigwig behind the scenes have more than the movie in common. They share a love of the same hometown.
  • Hash House Harriers

    Hash House Harriers

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 9:15 PM EDT2014-07-31 01:15:05 GMT
    You know the drill, party too hard on the weekend and then work it off all week in the gym. A South Florida running club let's you work out your legs and your liver. Deco got a taste of the wild weird world of the Hash House Harriers.
    You know the drill, party too hard on the weekend and then work it off all week in the gym. A South Florida running club let's you work out your legs and your liver. Deco got a taste of the wild weird world of the Hash House Harriers.

  • Guardians of the Galaxy - Dave Bautista

    Guardians of the Galaxy - Dave Bautista

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 9:14 PM EDT2014-07-31 01:14:06 GMT
    The movie doesn't open til Friday, but right now a bunch of lucky Deco viewers are at a sneak preview for "Guardians of the Galaxy." For those of you who couldn't score passes, we've got the next best thing: One of the jacked up stars giving an exclusive interview to Deco.
    The movie doesn't open til Friday, but right now a bunch of lucky Deco viewers are at a sneak preview for "Guardians of the Galaxy." For those of you who couldn't score passes, we've got the next best thing: One of the jacked up stars giving an exclusive interview to Deco.

  • NationalMore>>

  • Candidate lives as homeless person for a week

    Candidate lives as homeless person for a week

    Thursday, July 31 2014 11:29 AM EDT2014-07-31 15:29:10 GMT
    California's Republican candidate for governor says he spent a week living as a homeless person in search of a job to test Gov. Jerry Brown's claim that the state is making a comeback after the economic...
    California's Republican candidate for governor says he spent a week living as a homeless person in search of a job to test Gov. Jerry Brown's claim that the state is making a comeback after the economic downturn.
  • Rolex passed among jurors in ex-Va. gov trial

    Rolex passed among jurors in ex-Va. gov trial

    Thursday, July 31 2014 11:16 AM EDT2014-07-31 15:16:14 GMT
    They were once friends, or at least friendly. Both were self-made men who'd soared far past their working-class background. One was a rising star of the Republican Party and potential vice-presidential pick....
    A key witness in the corruption trial of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell testified that he made a mistake when he bought a Rolex watch for the governor at the first lady's request.
  • Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds 2011 union law

    Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds 2011 union law

    Thursday, July 31 2014 10:39 AM EDT2014-07-31 14:39:30 GMT
    The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the 2011 law that effectively ended collective bargaining for most public workers, sparked massive protests and led to Republican Gov. Scott Walker's recall...
    The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the 2011 law that effectively ended collective bargaining for most public workers, sparked massive protests and led to Republican Gov. Scott Walker's recall election and...
  • National SportsMore>>

  • AP source: A's acquire Lester, Gomes for Cespedes

    AP source: A's acquire Lester, Gomes for Cespedes

    Thursday, July 31 2014 11:29 AM EDT2014-07-31 15:29:02 GMT
    A person with knowledge of the trade says the Oakland Athletics have won the Jon Lester sweepstakes, acquiring the left-hander along with outfielder Jonny Gomes from the Boston Red Sox for slugging outfielder...
    The Oakland Athletics acquired left-hander Jon Lester along with outfielder Jonny Gomes from the Boston Red Sox for slugging outfielder Yoenis Cespedes before Thursday's trade deadline, a person with knowledge of the...
  • Griner, Mercury not focused on 16-game win streak

    Griner, Mercury not focused on 16-game win streak

    Thursday, July 31 2014 11:03 AM EDT2014-07-31 15:03:25 GMT
    By DOUG FEINBERG AP Basketball Writer Brittney Griner and the Phoenix Mercury are closing in on one of the greatest records in WNBA history, the Los Angeles Sparks' 18-game winning streak.
    By DOUG FEINBERG AP Basketball Writer Brittney Griner and the Phoenix Mercury are closing in on one of the greatest records in WNBA history, the Los Angeles Sparks' 18-game winning streak.
  • Chiefs safety Berry leaves practice with injury

    Chiefs safety Berry leaves practice with injury

    Thursday, July 31 2014 10:39 AM EDT2014-07-31 14:39:01 GMT
    Eric Berry left Chiefs practice on Thursday after hurting his lower right leg, the second injury that the Pro Bowl safety has sustained so far in training camp.
    Eric Berry left Chiefs practice on Thursday after hurting his lower right leg, the second injury that the Pro Bowl safety has sustained so far in training camp.
Powered by WorldNow

WSVN-TV
Sunbeam Television Corp
1401 79th Street Causeway
Miami, FL 33141

Switchboard: (305) 751-6692
Newsroom: (305) 795-2777

Can't find something?
Connect with us here:
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WSVN. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.