Monday, November 19, 2007

El Plan Béisbol

There is a long and interesting article at about Venezuela and Major League Baseball. The upshot is that MLB teams are pulling some operations out the country because of concerns about politicization of the sport and possible nationalization. In particular, there is a legislative proposal to require Venezuelan players to pay 10% of any signing bonus to the government, and for the Venezuelan Baseball Association to oversee all aspects of baseball in the country.

Part of the problem is that the Venezuelan government has remained vague, which fosters more rumors, but its ambassador to the U.S. says it will soon unveil “El Plan Béisbol” to lay out the government’s role. In general, the article emphasizes that there remains plenty of space for dialogue.

It’s hard to comment much until the details are worked out, but the money involved with MLB creates a predatory atmosphere. It seems reasonable for the Venezuelan government to step in the middle in some manner—exactly how is of course the big question. My sense from the article is that the government would take some sort of cut, which would then be funneled back into community baseball (building parks, buying equipment, etc.). I would hope it would also mean some form of protection for the young kids being courted by teams--exactly how I don’t know, perhaps even just having someone read and go over a contract before signing. In return, there would have to be assurances about protecting MLB’s investments.


Anonymous,  7:22 PM  

"It seems reasonable for the Venezuelan government to step in the middle in some manner."
Why is this?
I mean, I understand taxing players under the same rules other citizens are taxed but beyond that I don't understand why should the government get a share of someone's work and talent.

Greg Weeks 6:59 AM  

Mostly because the players are children, and may not have a clear sense of what they're signing.

Anonymous,  12:47 PM  

Makes sense

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