Jason Mackey: The Venezuelan team that signed Felipe Rivero this soon can't possibly be serious

Jason Mackey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on

Published in Baseball

BRADENTON, Fla. — Spring training represents a time for unbridled hope and unrealistic expectations. It's apparently also now the time for sheer stupidity, at least in Venezuela.

Basically three months after he was deported — a move made by ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations stemming from his conviction on 15 charges that included statutory sexual assault, corruption of minors, sexual abuse of a child and child pornography — former Pirates closer Felipe Rivero (previously Vazquez) has signed professionally with a team.

Yes, seriously. I thought it was all a bad dream, too.

The Carabobo Mariners, who play in the second-tier Venezuelan Major League, posted Friday morning on X that they had signed the 32-year-old. Displaying a staggering lack of feel or common sense, they proceeded to post about Rivero six more times throughout the day, including an animated graphic with dramatic images set around a star.

Imagine having that job on the social media team.

Second chances are one thing. Something like this, done so soon and seemingly for real, live human beings to celebrate in this way ...


It's truly sickening.

Then again, it also goes to show that some sports teams, especially those at the lower levels, will stop at nothing to win a few games, make a buck or both.

"I'm excited to play for the Mariners," Rivero said in one of the posts. "That a team has confidence in me after so much time means a lot."

What happened with Rivero during the summer of 2019 still makes those around the Pirates shudder — admittedly a small thing compared to those directly impacted by crimes such as this on a larger scale.


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