Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Million dollar lady

A bizarre story continues for the Detroit Tigers and their pitcher Ugueth Urbina. (Actually, "bizarre" undercuts the seriousness of the story.) Last September, Urbina's mother was kidnapped in Venezuela. She was abducted by men dressed as police officers and held for ransom. Upon hearing the news, Urbina left the Tigers to address the situation. Unfortunately, according to this story in yesterday's Detroit News, Urbina's mother is still being held. The situation doesn't appear close to a resolution, but no one - the Venezuelan government, the Urbina family, the Tigers, Major League Baseball, the U.S. State Department, not even academic experts on Venezuelan law - will discuss the case. I guess that shouldn't be a surprise, given the fragile nature of the circumstances. Evidently, these sorts of kidnappings are becoming commonplace in Venezuela. Relatives of professional athletes, with their multi-million dollar salaries, are especially vulnerable.

The awkward, insensitive question the Tigers are afraid to ask now is whether or not Urbina will be available to play for them this upcoming season.