Friday, November 11, 2011

Venezuelan Horror Story

One of the most interesting tidbits to come out of La Velle's live chat on Wednesday over at was the revelation that the Twins asked Trevor Plouffe to play winter ball this year and Plouffe declined.

My initial reaction was one of puzzlement. On Twitter, I said that Plouffe's decision was "hard to understand." After all, 2012 is shaping up to be a make-or-break season for the young infielder, at least with this organization. He's 25, he's spent four years in Triple-A and he'll be out of options next season.

If Plouffe can't take advantage of the ample opportunity that will be laid in front of him, with multiple starting spots figuring to be up for grabs, the Twins could hardly be blamed for moving on. Why wouldn't the former first-round pick head south and sharpen his skills over the offseason, perhaps accruing valuable experience at some different positions?

Later on Wednesday night, things came into focus for me upon learning that former Twins catcher Wilson Ramos was abducted from his home in Venezuela, which is where the winter league takes place. Armed gunmen entered Ramos' home, snatched him away from his family and took him away in an SUV. Now, authorities are scrambling to track down the 24-year-old, who just completed a solid rookie campaign with the Nationals.

This is pretty horrifying stuff. It's not the first time a professional athlete has been targeted for ransom in what has become an increasingly dangerous climate in Venezuela. Given this grave situation, I feel silly for even questioning someone's decision to stay out of that region.

At this point, all we can do is hope and pray for Ramos' safe return, while feeling glad that Plouffe opted to stay home for the winter. I would imagine that many players will make the same choice going forward.


Anonymous said...

Venezuala is not the only place to play winter ball... If they really don't want to go there, they could also play in the DR or PR, where some of the Twins' players are this winter... I think Plouffe planted himself firmly in the doghouse, by not playing winterball... Especially when those with whom he might be competing with for playing time, like Hughes, Benson and Tosoni, are playing in winter leagues...

Matt said...

Venezuela produces ample numbers of fine baseball players. Too many to name off.
But after hearing this awful story of a very unfortunate young man being forcefully removed while his family had to watch, I'd be reluctant as a GM to invest a lot in a player from there.

Let's all hope for Ramos' safe return.

Young Man Duggan said...

If Plouffe's reasoning for not playing this winter was for fear of his safety, than I think this is legitimate, but who's to say it was (I never came across his explanation if there was one)?

Plenty of ballplayers have gone down to play winter ball and nothing's happened. As terrible of a situation, we've got to keep it in perspective. How many people have a fear of flying because of hijackers or plane crashes, when that's such a tiny fraction of all plane trips. I don't mean to come off as being insensitive, but....

Plus, I don't blame ball players for wanting some time off the road, as long as they're still working on their game.

Jack said...

Free Wilson Ramos