Sports should be fun and games in a perfect world. We learned this week that sports are not immune to problems that plague society.
Outside of Ashton Kutcher, everyone knew about the Penn State scandal, which involves Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky sexually abusing young boys. It cost everyone their jobs, including legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno after failing to call the police on Sandusky and firing his trusted defensive coordinator.
There was not much coverage about Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos being kidnapped in Venezuela on Wednesday night. ESPN spent most of its time talking about Paterno and the NBA lockout. Only the D.C. media mentioned Ramos.
Ramos was found late Friday night in the mountains in the state of Carabobo. It was great news for the Nationals organization, Nationals fans, and most importantly, the Ramos family. This comes hours after the vigil that took place at Nats Park as people were praying for the rookie catcher to be safe and sound.
After reading about the Nationals catcher being abducted on Twitter, it was disgusting to say the least. What would possess someone to kidnap someone? That person has to have a sick mind to do this. It has become a common theme in Venezuela. Those folks abduct Major League baseball players’ relatives for the sake of getting money for their return. Here are numerous incidents that took place in that country over the years:
- Yorvit Torrealba’s brother-in-law was abducted in 2009.
- Victor Zambrano’s mother was kidnapped for three days in 2009.
- Ugueth Urbina’s mother was kidnapped in 2007, and it took until fourth months for her to be rescued.
It’s a trend that is only going to get worse. Those criminals seem to find a way where to get these guys where they want them. It’s sad to see this.
There are folks that wonder why Venzuelan ballplayers like to stay there during the winter when they should stay in America. They wonder why teams don’t prohibit them to go there. It’s something to think about, but those players have the right to enjoy their family lives over there. They feel there is great living over there than America. It’s their right, and if they are happy over there, no one should question their decision about living there.
It would be a shock if the Nationals deny Ramos from living in Venezuela. That would be irrational. People can get murdered or kidnapped anytime. Fortunately, the Nationals catcher will have bodyguards around him at all times.
This is clearly not a way for any person to live. It’s a reflection of how bad our society is today, and how it’s only going to get worse.
Athletes will always be a target. Fans feel they can get away with going after that. It seems killing people or kidnapping people makes others happy for only they know why. It’s remarkable how they feel good about themselves, especially in Venezuela when they do their thing.
There’s no telling when it will be stopped. It has become a way of life. Only people can hope and pray the players managed to get by unscathed when they spend their offseason in Venezuela.
Ramos will have bad memories of this, but he should be okay from this. He talked about how he was being fed and how the kidnappers were apparently nice to him. Still, being abducted will trigger memories often.
Still, he is alive. He will get to do what he loves to do most, which is playing baseball for a major league team. He will get a chance to continue to build on his rookie year. It beats the alternative, obviously.
Here’s hoping this will be the end of abduction of ballplayers in Venezuela or anywhere in South America, but that’s fantasy. It will continue for a long time unless protection is stronger over there. That means more police presence and more bodyguards. That shouldn’t be the way for any person to live or work when playing a kid’s game. It makes one appreciate how they have it good living in America where everyone is secure with their surroundings, and you can bet American players enjoy that luxury.
Sports should be a haven to avoid what’s going on with the problems in the world for at least three hours a night. It should be a forum to talk about the important plays by the players and moves of a coach on Twitter, message boards, sports radio and water coolers. We shouldn’t be talking about off-the-field issues that are plaguing sports and society in general.
Unfortunately, that’s the world we live in, and it isn’t going to get better. Get used to more depressing news for years to come.