Venezuelan Baseball’s Two Strikes


Original published Nov. 25 2012 in the Toronto Star.  Morgan Campbell Business Reporter MARACAY, VENEZUELA—Angel Guillen turns 16 in January, but his fresh face and braces make him look younger. He’s 6-foot-2 and long-limbed, thin as a praying mantis. On the pitcher’s mound, however, he wields his right arm like a whip, unspooling fastballs that … Continue reading

Yunel Escobar, homophobia and the folly of tolerance


My mom has a thing for fools. More correctly, she has a thing for saying the word “fool.” She loves it. Enjoys saying “fool” the way most women enjoy eating chocolate. Curls her bottom lip beneath her top row of teeth so she can push the word out with extra force; the fricative morphs into … Continue reading

Oct. 12, 2010: Bautista’s certain big payday also brings big pressures


Morgan Campbell Sports Reporter As training camps opened for Dominican league baseball teams last week, Santo Domingo newspaper La Nacion Dominicana trumpeted a major development for that island’s equivalent of the New York Yankees. “Tigres del Licey receive backing,” read the headline on a story that detailed a local businessman’s seven-figure sponsorship deal with the 22-time … Continue reading

Sept. 30, 2010: Cito Gaston’s farewell to Toronto


Morgan Campbell Sports Reporter Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston has spent the last few months telling every reporter who asks him that he really, truly and honestly won’t miss much when this season ends and he retires from baseball. The travel? Nope. Once he retires he’ll see the world on his own time instead of … Continue reading

July 14, 2010: Brothers in Baseball Destiny


For the remainder of infield practice they stood at shortstop, arms folded, smiling in the fading sunlight. Two boys becoming men, united, separated then thrown back together by their big-league dreams.

“In some ways it’s easier to live without seeing your family,” Iglesias said of his separation from Hechavarria….

April 15, 2010: African-Americans and MLB’s “quota”


Morgan Campbell Sports Reporter Any time a major-league roster has more than about three African Americans on its active roster, White Sox outfielder Juan Pierre says black players across the majors start joking with each other about “the quota.” If one more African American joins the team, the joke goes, the team will have to … Continue reading

April 17, 2010: Jays’ prospect Hechavarria faces plenty of hurdles


Fellow Cuban big leaguers caution Jays’ signee to learn English and the value of a dollar. April 17, 2010 Morgan Campbell Sports Reporter Three days after Cuban shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria arrived in Dunedin, Fla., to finalize his contract with the Blue Jays, he took a short trip to St. Petersburg with his agent, Bart Hernandez, … Continue reading

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