Spring Training and Immigration Troubles11 Mar 2010
With spring training underway at ballparks all over the sunny south, baseball fans are champing at the bit, awaiting the first crack of the bat on Opening Day. With less than a month to go before the season opener, major leaguers are working hard to get in top condition for the 2010 baseball season. For one rising star, Angels’ first baseman Kendry Morales, spring training meant exercising on his own until problems with his work visa could be resolved. Morales, a top hitter in the American League, was unable to join his teammates for spring training until last week, according to an article posted on MLB.com. Angel’s manager Mike Scioscia told MLB.com, “Obviously, it wasn’t ideal. He missed a lot of prep work that’s important, especially PFP [pitchers’ fielding practice]. We’ll get him caught up, get him acclimated and get the stiffness out…”
As the MLB.com article explains, Morales, a Cuban national who resides in the Dominican Republic, applied for his visa on February 3, after having to wait a year and a day after his old visa expired.
Doubtless, this talented young player will get back in the swing of things quickly; but one has to wonder: if it’s this hard for a rising star of Major League Baseball to start work on time, due to visa troubles, doesn’t this suggest that our immigration system – to say the least – is not exactly batting 1000? If you multiply these delays by the number of applicants, and think about all the value that’s NOT being created by foreign-born doctors, scientists, engineers, computer programmers while they wait for their visas to go through, that all adds up to a tremendous deadweight loss to our economy. In baseball as in any other business, time is money. Can we really afford delays like this?