It seems that every year there's a Latin American player who has visa problems and is late to spring training. When Rafael Furcal was with the team he had visa problems. Last year it was Willy Aybar and Rafael Soriano. Heck, last year Wil Ledezma had his documents damaged "in a washing incident" and didn't make it back after the All-Star break.
But the problem isn't just limited to Latin American players. Phil Stockman had a problem with his visa in the middle of spring training and had to leave the country (and go to the Bahamas of all places) before being allowed to legally reenter.
That many visa problems had to be a bit of an embarrassment to the Braves organization last year. We will see how far the team has gone this year to solve these problems between their players and their green cards. Candidates for visa problems this spring include, Manny Acosta, Jairo Cuevas, Jair Jurrjens, Peter Moylan, Rafael Soriano, Phil Stockman, Omar Infante, Scott Thorman (from Canada), and Gregor Blanco - and I'm not even counting the non-roster invitees.
But there is news that we may not be able to pick a winner in this year's visa roulette, as the Braves have told our insipid beat writer that there will be no visa problems this year:
There you have it. You can't argue with anything he says or the way he says it - it must be taken as gospel. It looks like this little game I was going to play of "guess who will be delayed by visa problems" will just have to wait till next year (note that I am trying to come up with a catchier name for the game - Visa Versa, Lend me your Birth Certificate, Sponsored by Visa, Lost, and Johnny Walker Red are some of the names I've been tossing around).
Screw that, I'm not waiting. I say there will be visa problems for someone. I rattled off nine names - nine names - and that included a Canadian, and everyone knows Canadians can't be trusted. (Frank Wren knows this, why else would he have traded away Canadian phenom Jamie Richmond for a broken down centerfielder and let fan favorite, and Canadian, Pete Orr walk away this off-seasons - to a division rival, no less, he will live to regret that decision.)
I guess we'll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, go ahead and place your vote in the poll on the right side of the site for who you think will be delayed by bureaucratic red tape this year.