On Thursday evening and Friday morning the club released two press releases about a problem between the city Mannheim and the TORNADOS, which lasts since Spring 2008. Apparently the local attorney office pressed charges against Eddie Aucoin, Billy Hess and a father of a junior player because of immigration violations last year. They say they would play in Germany without a correct visa and would have been involved in illegal player deals. Additionally this spring the city of Mannheim would only allow a work visa to Justin Lazarus (member of South African national team), if he doesn’t play in the Bundesliga.There is more to it than just a visa issue however:
The main issue between the TORNADOS and the city Mannheim is the status of the Baseball-Bundesliga. The city claims it is a professional league and foreign, non-EU players have to be paid at least €2,550 a month to get a visa to play. However in reality it is an amateur league in which most of the players also have a real job. The salaries are much lower and no club in Germany pays such an amount.So who's right, and who's wrong. If it really isn't a professional league, all the players should have valid visa's regardless. But it if is, why is the city dictating a minimum wage for the players? Especially in Germany? It's a republic, and federal law applies everywhere. How is one city in the country doing this when the others aren't?:
All other 13 clubs in the Bundesliga doesn’t have these problems.This is seriously affecting some of the players on the team:
Shortstop Billy Hess, which is in danger to lose his visa, is working as a teacher and as a coach and only plays in his free time for the team. As mentioned in last Friday’s article the government has stopped actions against Hess until the whole matter is solved.This is all I really have on it right now. The main story is over at Mister Baseball.I'll provide updates as they happen, but this is very selective. Sounds like some politician wanting to make a name for himself, or someone in Mannheim just doesn't like baseball.
South African infielder Justin Lazarus, who is in Germany as a student, is still not allowed to play for the first team or he would lose his student visa. His father is a businessman, who is living in Mannheim. Similar to Hess, the city says Lazarus should also receive at least €2,550 a month to play in the Bundesliga.
I don't advocate illegal immigration and fraud on visas, but c'mon guys, it's baseball. Or is someone really concerned that the foreigners are taking jobs away from German ball players? Wonder what would happen if Cincinnati tried something like this?