April 9, 2009

Problem solved!

I totally missed this when it happened in 2006, but I'm happy to report that the pressing national problem of not enough Dominican third basemen playing for the Peoria Chiefs minor league team was totally solved by Congress and President Bush in 2006. There are some jobs Americans just won't do!

Sen. Diane Feinstein proudly announced on 12/11/06:

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today announced that legislation to ease visa restrictions on athletes from other countries participating in minor league sports leagues, competitions, or performances has been approved by Congress and now goes to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

The COMPETE Act passed the Senate on Wednesday, December 7, by unanimous consent. The bill then passed the House of Representatives by voice vote on Friday, December 9, 2006.

"The COMPETE Act allows top-notch athletes from around the world the opportunity to compete and perform in the United States without facing unfair and unnecessary visa restrictions,” Senator Feinstein said. "There’s no reason that minor league athletes should face tougher visa restrictions than their counterparts in the major leagues. Once signed into law, this bill will provide a level playing field for all foreign athletes seeking to compete in the United States.”

Minor league athletes from other countries currently face much stricter visa restrictions than their major league counterparts. Major league athletes are eligible for “P” visas, but minor league athletes currently must enter the country as part of the H-2B seasonal worker visa program.

This has been a problem in recent years because the H2-B cap of 66,000 visas has been met in the first few months of the fiscal year, leaving foreign minor league athletes with little or no opportunity to enter the United States. As a result, minor league baseball, basketball, hockey, and ice skating programs in the United States have been prevented from recruiting hundreds of foreign athletes each year.

The COMPETE Act would reclassify minor league athletes so that they are eligible to enter the country under the “P” visa category. ...

Sports organizations benefiting from the COMPETE Act include:

  • Major League Baseball, which was unable to bring 350 baseball players to the United States in the 2004 and 2005 seasons when the H-2B visa caps were filled before they were able to provide visas for minor league players they wanted to recruit.

Keep in mind that the minor leagues were already about half foreign, so this law just meant that major league teams can bring in more marginal prospects unlikely to make it in the majors, dropouts who usually wind up staying illegally in the U.S. after they get cut. MLB prefers to employ Dominicans as minor league cannon fodder because they don't have to draft them like they have to draft Americans and Puerto Ricans, so they are cheaper.


Anonymous said...

Steve-O, check this out from Razib Khan at Taki's

--Senor Doug

Anonymous Cubs Fan said...

The Peoria Chiefs actually have one of the Cubs top prospects at third now, Josh Vitters. (just an excuse to say "Go Cubs!")

Shatnerson said...

The influx of Dominican males may have an effect on one other industry: adult films. While few adult movies, professional or amateur, are produced in the DR, for several reasons, Dominican males are particularly desireable as performers for two reasons: they tend-as in the famous example of Porfirio Rubirosa- to be exceptionally well endowed and they often have great endurance as well. (The "Cuban Superman" shows in Cuba before Castro, which were notorious, were primarily performed by Dominicans.)

When their baseball exploits are over, many of these Dominicans may do a little moonlighting in this, ahem, uplifting facet of the cinema before going home......

Ronduck said...

The COMPETE Act passed the Senate on Wednesday, December 7, by unanimous consent.

Pfft. Not even the conservative senators from the South registered any resistance.

Anonymous said...

Eff major league baseball. I live in Minneapolis and I could personally give a rip about it. The sharks who own the effing team care about nothing but having the public pay for the stadium, which is mighty ballsy of them, pun intended. given the depression we are in.
Baseball used to be a game for kids and now it is a racket, but the game has remained the same, which means that for anyone beyond the mental capacity of a 12 year old it is boring.
I also could care less about watching monsters in spandex fall on the ground and giants in shiny bermudas play with balls. Screw the "Vikings" and the "Wolves"...send 'em to Las Vegas. They are a waste.

clem said...

OT: I, robot — and gardener: MIT droids tend plants:

"A class of undergraduates at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has created a set of robots that can water, harvest and pollinate cherry tomato plants...."

"Even though robots have made few inroads into agriculture, these robots' creators hope their technology eventually could be used by farmers to reduce the natural resources and the difficult labor needed to tend crops."

You know, for the jobs which "Americans won't do" ... and which can, should, and will, be done by machines in the foreseeable future. Machines, that is, which will be designed by skilled engineers, and maintained by community-college educated technicians.

Where will that leave the Luddites, ditch-diggers, and other "real men" who need to do physical work in order to feel fulfilled, and who would gladly return our tech-driven society, and growth-through-increased-productivity based economy, to a manual-laboring one in pursuit of that goal?

"Let them eat tomatoes."

Reg C├Žsar said...

But minor-league baseball is already a fraud, due to the "farm system". Your local team isn't independent, but a puppet of a larger, distant organization, which can pull your stars off the roster late in what you were led to believe was a pennant race.

Compare that to professional soccer associations abroad. Their farm system (youth squads, "under-21", whatever) is separate from their minor leagues (lower divisions). The former are subdivisions of major clubs, and are drawn locally. The latter are independent, represent smaller cities (or neighborhoods in large cities), and are eligible for promotion-- as a team, mind you-- to higher leagues through good play.

Importing foreigners at the highest level of play makes perfect sense. Importing them to replace the farm system, which is supposed to be a local pipeline, is obscene.

Minor clubs would fall somewhere in between. One or two "geniuses" to boost you up to the next level is fine, but by definition most of your squad should hardly qualify for genius status. You are in the "lower" division, after all, and there aren't that many geniuses to go around.