Prison of Cuban Baseball Ensnares US Agent, Too

Case of Gus Dominguez, now in Calif. prison, sends author on island odyssey
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2008 3:17 PM CDT
Antonio Castro, left, Cuba's team doctor and Fidel Castro's son, celebrates with members of the Cuban team after beating the United States in their Pan American Games gold medal game, July 20, 2007.    (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
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(Newser) – Politics is keeping "at least half a billion dollars of baseball players in Cuba right now," one agent tells Michael Lewis as he investigates, for Vanity Fair, the case of an American sports agent now in jail for smuggling athletes. Gus Dominguez appears to be a victim of politics on the US side—though that web isn't half as tangled as the one facing athletes on Castro's island.

"The governments of the United States and Cuba now agree on at least one thing," Lewis notes: "Americans with a commercial interest in springing Cuban ballplayers should be jailed for pursuing it." The underbelly of the Cuban system gets the full treatment from the Moneyball author, with time out for jabs at Fidel Castro, current Seattle Mariners shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt, and plenty more.