In October, we had Rafael Rojas, a Venezuelan baseball writer on the podcast. We talked plenty of baseball, but as I like to steer the show frequently into foreign affairs, we also talked about the state of the nation, and Rojas lamented the rapidly surging crime rate in his home country. One of the biggest issues there is the crime of kidnapping, as Venezeula now has the highest rate in the world. That crime and baseball combined in a disturbing way this evening, as reports have confirmed that Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos, who had just arrived home to join his winter league team, was abducted by gunmen this evening.
Kidnapping and baseball have crossed paths before in Venezeula. Two years ago, Yorvit Torrealba and his family paid a ransom for the return of his son. Also that year, Victor Zambrano's mother was rescued by a raid following her kidnapping, while in the biggest tragedy, the brother of Henry Blanco was kidnapped in December of 2008, with his body found the next day. He had been shot 15 times.
It's easy for us to say that they are rich baseball players and that they should live permanently in the United States under relative safety. It's easy for us because we are not from there. During my time in baseball, I've made several friends there, and the one thing I can say about them, universally, is that they love Venezuela. Many players are now permanent residents of the United States, but they are still targets for crime, as many members of their extended family remain in the country.
There is no answer here, and maybe not even a point, other than baseball is a wonderful fantasy world, and we hope Ramos can return to it, both quickly, and safely.
Thank you for reading
This is a free article. If you enjoyed it, consider subscribing to Baseball Prospectus. Subscriptions support ongoing public baseball research and analysis in an increasingly proprietary environment.Subscribe now