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Yorvit Torrealba appealed his winter league suspension. To an actual court of law. And won.

Dec 17, 2012, 10:30 AM EDT

Yorvit Torrealba AP AP

A year ago, Yorvit Torrealba was playing for Leones del Caracas in the Venezuelan Winter League. On December 23 he was suspended for hitting an umpire. Like, straight out smacking him while arguing a call. For his transgression he was suspended for 66 games. Per the suspension, he would have been eligible again this coming January 3rd.

There’s an update to all of that. The source is a Spanish language newspaper, but reader Francisco Colmenares read it and gives us the upshot, which is really something:

Now get this: he appealed to a civilian court that his rights under the constitution had been violated. specifically two articles (26 and 49) that guarantee the right to due process and the right to defend himself. The court agreed with him and overturned the league decision.

Can you imagine if that happened here?

  1. The Dangerous Mabry - Dec 17, 2012 at 10:37 AM

    “Ok, your suspension is overturned, sir, but you’re going to be doing 6 months of community service for assault and battery….”

    I mean, once you open things up to the courts, aren’t you just asking for trouble?

  2. sabatimus - Dec 17, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    Defend himself from what? If anything the umpire should counter-sue.

  3. DelawarePhilliesFan - Dec 17, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    On July 14, 1978, Harvey ejected pitcher Don Sutton for scuffing baseballs in a game he was pitching for the Dodgers. In that instance, Harvey said, he had three baseballs thrown by Sutton that were clearly scuffed.

    On July 14, 1978, (Doug) Harvey ejected pitcher Don Sutton for scuffing baseballs in a game he was pitching for the Dodgers. In that instance, Harvey said, he had three baseballs thrown by Sutton that were clearly scuffed.

    “They were all scuffed on Chub Feeney’s name,” Harvey said.

    The umpire said he warned the pitcher after the second one and ejected him after the next.

    “Don Sutton ran into the dressing room and came out with a typewritten order,” Harvey recalled. “He said, ‘You’ll be hearing from my lawyer.’ I crumpled it up and told him where he could stick it.”

    Sutton could have been given a 10-day suspension but instead got off with a warning from then-commissioner Bowie Kuhn.

  4. seeinred87 - Dec 17, 2012 at 10:57 AM

    Holy shit, the picture from El Universal is hilarious. I wish it had a better caption though, so I knew how to say “bitchslap” en español

    • indaburg - Dec 17, 2012 at 11:34 AM

      The closest I can think is “galletazo” (pronounced: ga-ye-ta-zo).

      • paperlions - Dec 17, 2012 at 12:56 PM

        How about bofetada?

      • seeinred87 - Dec 17, 2012 at 2:13 PM

        Thanks, guys. Galletazo I had never heard, bofetada I had. I know classroom Spanish really, really well, but I’ve only ever gotten to speak with native speakers a handful of times, so I know next to no slang.

      • Francisco (FC) - Dec 17, 2012 at 3:01 PM

        Well, I’d be careful with whatever slang you learn because it’s not universal. One thing in Mexico might mean something different in Argentina. Something mild in Venezuela might be raunchy in Peru… and so on.

      • paperlions - Dec 17, 2012 at 3:19 PM

        All to true. I brought several bags of “conchitas” (a corn snack chip) from Mexico for my Argentine friend in the states. She had a raunchy sense of humor, she was lovely, really….she had hours of fun laughing at the ways should could incorporate those “conchitas” into conversation.

  5. seeinred87 - Dec 17, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    And although my Spanish is definitely not perfect, I’m pretty sure the article says that the court order just suspends his suspension, with a final hearing on Thursday.

    • Francisco (FC) - Dec 17, 2012 at 11:30 AM

      To me the issue is the court being involved in the first place. Let me put it this way: imagine a school principal suspending a student a number of days form school because of bad behavior. Imagine the student going to court and getting a hearing having the suspension overturned. Does that even make sense? Really, it’s not the purview of that court to make any decisions regarding disciplinary measures taken by league officials.

      • seeinred87 - Dec 17, 2012 at 11:35 AM

        I definitely agree that it’s strange. The point I was trying to make is that (again, based on Spanish that I don’t get to use very often) the court didn’t fully overturn his suspension. Not yet anyway.

        If they do though, it seems to take away a lot of power from that league though. Suspension for hitting an umpire overturned? I guess I’ll go ahead and keep this Vaseline handy while I’m on the mound

      • Francisco (FC) - Dec 17, 2012 at 11:39 AM

        Yes, in terms of details, the Judge granted a kind of “stay” for his suspension, pending the final hearing on Thursday. Notice that it still allows him to suit up and play right now. It’s definitely a win for him. It’s going to be a quagmire no matter what happens. It sets a bad precedent too. The league is going to be all the worse because of this decision.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 17, 2012 at 12:23 PM

        I hate to tell you this but a number of students in the US have gone to court to fight suspensions on the grounds that they infringe on constitutional rights (usually the 1st Amendment).

      • Francisco (FC) - Dec 17, 2012 at 1:41 PM

        It doesn’t make it any loonier. To me it would have to be something really, really, really, spectacularly wrong about it to warrant court intervention.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 17, 2012 at 2:24 PM

        Oh, I think it’s looney all right. I can’t imagine how that infringes on rights, but ooookaaayyyy.

  6. jehzsa - Dec 17, 2012 at 11:25 AM

    The Judge’s order serves as a stay (medida cautelar de amparo) until the final hearing is held. Until that happens, he gets to play.

  7. vallewho - Dec 17, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    Major sports leagues operate as if they were a totalitarian dictatorship. Due process? what is that?..says_________.

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