Scout Says Baseball Put in the Fix in Mexico
SAN DIEGO (CN) - Major League Baseball conspires with Mexican pro leagues to interfere with Mexican players' entrance to U.S. major and minor leagues, a Mexican pro scout claims in court.
Plaintiff David Gonzalez Camacho, of Tijuana and San Diego, describes himself in the Superior Court complaint as a scout, trainer, promoter and representative for "young, talented and high caliber Mexican baseball players for eventual placement in international major and minor leagues, including Major League and Minor League baseball conducted in the United States of America."
Gonzalez is the only plaintiff, though his complaint centers upon his representation of Mexican ballplayer Daniel Pesqueira Arrellano.
"In this lawsuit, plaintiff seeks monetary damages and declarative orders of relief from this court to remedy, in reference to an outstanding Major League Baseball prospect Daniel Pesqueira, the pervasive wrongful, and corrupt conduct of Major League Baseball, in conspiracy with the Mexican Major Leagues, to prevent outstanding Mexican baseball players who seek to play in the major and/or minor leagues in the United States from doing so unless they are sponsored and/or represented exclusively by teams of the Mexican Baseball League," Gonzalez says in the 26-page complaint. "Plaintiff seeks monetary damages against defendants who engaged in and are continuing to engage in a civil conspiracy to commit unlawful, unfair and fraudulent conduct against plaintiff by interfering with his ability to contract with said Mexican baseball prospect; and, who are engaged in conducting unfair business practices designed to wholly prevent player agents such as plaintiff from working in their trades in the U.S and in Mexico; and which unfair business practices are designed to limit the opportunities of Mexican baseball players to sign player contracts with teams in the United States and to prevent the ability of said Mexican baseball prospects from contracting freely with American teams and free of graft conducted by the Mexican leagues."
Gonzalez says Pesqueira made him his agent in 2010, and that the two of them met with scouts from Major League Baseball.
In February 2012, the Boston Red Sox invited Pesqueira to train with the team and he got the visas he needed to do so, Gonzalez says in the complaint. He claims that Pesqueira was a good prospect, and the Red Sox thought so too. But in March 2012, Gonzalez says, a Red Sox scout told him that Pesqueira was returning to Mexico because he belonged to a Mexican League team and could not play in the Major Leagues without that team's consent. The scout told him that Pesqueira was on the reserve list of the Association of Professional Baseball Teams of the Mexican Leagues, and therefore was ineligible to play for the Boston Red Sox.
Baseball has been granted wide, and controversial, antitrust exemptions in the United States. It is customary for Major League teams to pay, for example, Japanese teams for the "right" to recruit their players.
Gonzalez claims that he asked to see the contract that allegedly bound his client Pesqueira to a Mexican league, and Major League Baseball provided him an alleged contract between Pesqueira and a professional Mexican League baseball team called the Diablos Rojos, or Red Devils.'
Gonzalez claims it is not a genuine contract. He says the document consisted of just two preprinted, form pages, which failed to provide any contractual terms which would constitute a valid contract of any sort.
He claims Pesqueira told him he had never signed either contract.
Gonzales claims the signatures appear to have been lifted from another document and transferred. He claims that the Mexican Major Leagues lifted Pesqueira's signature from a form he signed in San Diego when he registering his vital data to begin training for the Mexican major leagues.
Gonzalez claims that he told this to Major League Baseball, but it continues to prevent Pesqueira from training or contracting with the Red Sox.
Gonzalez says this amounts to a civil conspiracy to interfere with the economic advantage of Mexican baseball players.
He claims that the Mexican leagues benefit from it because it forces a ballplayer who wants to play in the Major Leagues to sign up with a Mexican team, under unconscionable commission structures. It also allows the Mexican teams to profit without having to make any capital investment toward training, according to the complaint.
Gonzalez cites as an example Luis Heredia, "who presently is under contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Luis Heredia was forced to sign with the Veracruz, Mexico team, a member of the Association of Professional Baseball Teams of the Mexican Leagues, solely to secure an opportunity to sign with a U.S. team. He never trained, practiced or played with the Veracruz team, yet when he signed with Pittsburgh for a contract price of $2,800,000, the Veracruz team took an unconscionable commission of 70 percent, or almost $2,000,000.00 of that contract, for doing absolutely nothing," Gonzalez says in the complaint.
He demands more than $10 million in damages for civil conspiracy, intentional interference with contractual relations, and unfair business practices.
Gonzalez is represented by Stephen McCue, of Rancho Santa Fe.
Here are the defendants: Major League Baseball, its affiliates and the Officer of the Commissioner; the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues; the Asociacion de Equipos Profesionales de Beisbol de la Liga Mexicana; and Minor League Baseball.