Venezuela: Now a Shortage of Baseball Players?

It surprised no one when the news came out a couple months ago that Venezuela’s socialist economy had run out of one of the easiest products to stock—toilet paper—but today the Wall Street Journal reports that most of the U.S. major league baseball talent scouting and development operations in Venezuela are closing down:

The Mariners are the latest Major League Baseball team to pull out of Venezuela, leaving only four such academies in the country, down from more than 20 in the late 1990s. The steady exodus is a byproduct of rampant violence and, more recently, widespread political and economic turmoil. And it is endangering one of the country’s most visible and valuable exports outside of oil: baseball players. . .

Most teams no longer believe such a presence is worth the danger, hassles and costs that come with it. Stringent labor laws and a Byzantine currency system have long made Venezuela an expensive place to do business, but it has become increasingly complicated and less safe for MLB to operate there. . .

Another triumph of socialism. Sean Penn was unavailable for comment.

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