Into International Waters Of MLB

  In the second part of ESBC’s series on the trials and tribulations of minor league players, we dive into the seedy under belly of baseball. Major League Baseball’s international amateur free agent period opens up every July 2nd. Hundreds of 16 year old prospects who are not playing amateur baseball in the US or Puerto Rico are essentially put up for sale on this date. The money is life changing but the road to this point is nearly as arduous, maybe more so, as the “Road to the Show.” Today we dive into the specifics of IFA’s, the downsides of the system and a possible fix, and the controversy that even cost one general manager his career in the majors.     To truly understand the outlook of the IFA signing period as a whole, you must understand where it begins. Commonly it begins on a patch of dirt in a Latin American country such as the Dominican Republic, Curacao, and Venezuela. Unfortunately these countries, whle rich in baseball talent, is rich in little else. Aluminum bats, hats, mitts, cleats, grass all are missing from these countries to nearly the entire population. In the region, baseball is truly a lifestyle.It is the only way out of poverty for most. If at a young age, a young Latin player shows promise he is trust into that baseball lifestyle. While the “Road to the Show” may be tough for US born players, for Latin players it is just another hurdle to clear all while going from a patch of dirt to a well manicured baseball diamond.    The Dominican Republic may not be the most well known country to most but if you are a baseball fan it sure is. More of a baseball factory than country to baseball fans, it’s biggest export is gold. For all 30 teams mining the baseball mines of the DR and all of Latin America, is similar to the gold rush in the US. For a while it was a wild west. IFA rules are negotiated in every CBA and just like MiLB players, IFAs are not represented, but their futures are held in the MLBPA’s hands. Under the Bud Selig administration, it was not really an agenda item. Teams could spend as much as needed and only incur slight penalties. Rob Manfred has changed many rules and regulations and the system we have now while still broken, is holding more water than systems before. Here are the specifics:

  • Players must be at least 16 years old on 7/2 of that year.
  • Currently teams have 4.75 million dollars to spend to pay IFA’s one-time bonuses to join the organization. Certain MLB free agent compensation could grant a team an extra million.
  • Teams can trade money 4 times.
  • Teams may carry over money from even numbered years into odd numbered years, but not vise versa. For example in 2020 a team could elect not to spend any of the 4.75 million and carry it into 2021, you couldn’t do that in 2019 into 2020.

    The dirty secret (which is poorly kept) is that despite rules saying teams can only sign players when they turn 16, it is loosely enforced. Most deals are a formality by July 2nd. The main reason this is allowed to happen is, it’s very hard to really police. Most young Latin players who just got life changing money are not ready to call their team out for signing them early. Sometimes however once in awhile the cat catches the mouse.    The mouse in question was former Braves GM John Coppolella in 2017. MLB investigators found numerous violations against the Braves including signing a 14 year old SS two years before he was eligible, offering players “off the book” perks and incentives, and paying players more that the listed amount. The penalties were harsh and for the Braves, it shed light on why they had been so good during previous IFA signing periods. Nearly 14 players were released from the Braves, free to sign anywhere else. The most notable IFA prospect was Kevin Maitan,  who was signed up by the Angels at nearly the same time as Shohei Ohtani. Coppolella took the heaviest penalty of all, banishment. The penalty draws a line in the sand. Major League Baseball knows their international waters are not only murky but lawless, However this administration has shown that if you do get caught, it will not just be a slap on the wrist.      A fix to this problem is something that is needed but not easily found. As long as i could remember the main solution would be to institute an IFA draft. Most scouts and executives are split down the middle on the subject. Currently, outside of cheating, the best way to succeed in this period is to devote huge amounts of money and resources along with entire scouting departments. The current CBA expires 12-1-2021 and while other topics will be more ballyhooed, the IFA situation should get more attention than it will. The problems are plentiful but are able to be remedied in 2021. Unfortunately the biggest of the problems is lack of union representation. Like MiLB players, the young Latin Americans await the decisions that will change their lives, being decided by men who view them as negotiation fodder.

COVID-19 Politics

Why is there no money in Lake Forest California for drive thru COVID-19 tests ? After 5 known cases here ?

In a crisis like COVID-19 local political corruption harmful effects become clear. In Lake Forest we do not even know the Mayors last name or who she is married to.

Bottom line like the ancients said if you do not participate in Government you will be ruled by your inferiors

Link to the original Editorial here (Orange County Register is basically a PR Firm for Developers and the Orange County Republican Party that rigs elections for them.

His response is notable because this is the hidden cost of corruption.

“Andy O’Connor wrote “Lake Forest City Council, at the meeting of March 17, approved $475K for “Performance Bonus” without giving any details of what employees are receiving!

At the meeting of July 16, 2019, Councilman Dwight Robinson said, “We need to tighten our belts.”

Since then Robinson and the other four council members have spent $217,000 for “ART” for the new Civic Center (some of which isn’t accessible to the public), $165,000 salary for a glorified facility manager for the Civic Center, and renewed the contract for city manager Debra Rose to $238,000, more than the governor’s salary!!

Now, OCSD wants $800K for two full-time deputies and a patrol car!!

Robinson and the other four council members say we must “tighten our belts” but then SPEND ridiculously!!

Andy O’ConnorFoothill Ranch”
Here is some context to his “Letter to the Editor”
In speaking to over 4000 residents in the successful recall of corrupt city councilman Andrew Hamilton member of the Lincoln Club political non -profit that funds 100% of the Republicans in Orange County

This delayed Home Builder Toll Brothers execution of paying off the city council to change the last green space for 769- 69ft million dollar houses with no back yards or drive ways.

Toll Brothers spent over $900,000 in campaign contributions to rig the Lake Forest City Council per 460 campaign disclosure forms.

Many residents felt that corruption is to be expected of politicians and that they did not care as long as it did not affect them.

Academic articles state that the cost of local political corruption are higher costs that deplete available cash in the budget for a crisis situation. Flint Michigan is a great example.

In Lake Forest the Orange County Sheriffs Association PAC pays off the city council and as result are bankrupting the city.

The Police is 60% of the budget. Historically over the last 20 years the Lake Forest City Council and staff have not been effective in leverage the United States free enterprise system and Capitalism to create revenue for the city.

They have relied on Greedy developer fees without a good business plan or moral compass. They are a “One trick Pony” despite the City manager making $300,000 and assistant city manager make $179,000.00 which is a lot for a city that does not have to mange a police force or fire department.

As a result there is no money for drive thru COVID-19 tests in Lake Forest California for the residents

In short there is no money for masks or drive thur testing because they are corrupt and using the money for “rackets” that funnel money back to themselves, groups and associations

Editorial referenced ;