Here's an odd but unsettling story: Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro had $3.6 million seized from him Wednesday as part of an ongoing legal battle with a baseball academy he attended as a teenager in the Dominican Republic.
When Castro was 15 he attended Mi Futuro Biliguer (My Future Big Leaguer). The head of the baseball prep school says Castro's father agreed to pay the school three percent of his son's future baseball earnings. But now that he's 23 years old and an MLB player, Castro isn't complying. Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune has more:
Castro signed a seven-year, $60 million contract extension with the Cubs in 2012. He paid part of his original $45,000 signing bonus to the school, a source said, but did not expect the payments to continue throughout his career.
Castro’s coach at the school, Manuel Nunez, was planning to sue Castro for “breach of trust and securities distraction,” according to a report, trying to force Castro to give him 3 percent of his contract.
A source said Castro’s attorney plans to file a countersuit against Nunez and claims the contract is baseless, saying the father could not sign away his son’s future earnings.
This is another example of how the business of international baseball isn't all peanuts and Cracker Jack. We recently learned about the perils of smuggling players out of Cuba in the Leonys Martin case. This isn't as horrifying as that, but it does remind us that there's a lot more at play here than just performing well on the field.
Baseball is a ticket out of poverty for many young athletes in Latin American and Caribbean countries. The U.S. is the promised land. Getting there is priority No. 1, and people are willing to risk (or give up) a lot to ensure that. Even selling the future of their loved ones.
You might look at a story like this one and think it's similar to a kid in the U.S. taking out student loans to get through college. But there's something much more unsettling here, specifically the notion that when you're a 15-year-old playing a kid's game, there's someone else who is trying to own a part of you forever.
BLS H/N: Eye On Baseball
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