This Wednesday, Ecuadoran Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño held a press conference to confirm that his country had received a request for asylum from Memphis Redbirds shortstop Ryan Jackson. He then read portions of what he said was Jackson’s letter to Ecuador’s president:
“I, Ryan Jackson, member of the St. Louis Cardinals organisation, write to you to request asylum from the Republic of Ecuador because of my continued confinement to the minor leagues and/or bench despite sustained success and a clear need at the major league level.”
“Having exhausted all other possibilities, I have determined that I am being held as a political prisoner. During spring training, Mike Matheny overheard me telling Matt Adams that bunting a runner to second base actually decreases run expectancy. Since then, I believe the organization has issued a secret kangaroo court order for my indefinite detention and prominent members of the team have called me a traitor or worse: the next Tyler Greene.”
“I am not a Tyler Greene. I made a conscious decision to expose grave misconceptions about the value of sacrificing an out to get someone into so-called ‘scoring position’. As a result of my political opinions and exercising my rights of free expression through which I showed a fellow rookie that position players should never be asked to lay down a bunt, this organization has turned against me. They are the true Tyler Greenes.”
Patiño stated that Jackson compared his case to that of Colby Rasmus, another member of the Cardinals organisation who successfully sought refugue in Canada two years ago. Like Rasmus, Jackson believes that he has been given every opportunity to fail. Unlike Rasmus, Jackson notes that he hasn’t even been given a single opportunity to succeed.
Jackson’s letter made several references to current Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma, who is currently hitting .252/.296/.319 in 274 plate appearances. “Kozma’s OPS is the eighth worst among qualified batters in the NL,” Jackson told the Ecuadoran President in his plea for asylum. “Meanwhile I have an on-base percentage near .400 in AAA. I’m out-hitting Oscar Tavares.”
The Foreign Minister then addressed reporters himself, telling them that Ecuador would decide how to proceed based upon the values enumerated in the Ecuadoran Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the 1988 edition of the Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract.
“We will examine domestic law, international law, and Runs Created,” Patiño said. “But not Win Shares. Never Win Shares.”
In recent years, Ecuador itself has come under fire for suppression of free speech and government control of the media. Opponents of President Rafael Correa have suggested that his administration has no place criticizing the personnel decisions of United States baseball organizations.
Patiño, however, sees it differently. “In Ecuador, we respect the privacy and values of our citizens. Government-run media allows us to protect our people from offensive content such as American propaganda, violent protests, and Ty Wigginton at-bats.”
For the moment, the Ecuadoran government has made no decision on whether to grant Jackson’s request for asylum. “While the injustice is great, we do not really need a shortstop at this time,” Patiño explained. “We are primarily looking for outfield help, and his bat doesn’t profile well to a corner.”
Currently, Ryan Jackson’s whereabouts are unknown, but reports have surfaced that he has already fled Memphis and may be hiding out in Moscow after a hasty plane flight from the United States.
When reached for comment on Jackson’s status, Russian President Vladimir Putin was tight lipped. “I cannot state anything specifically about Mr. Jackson,” he said in a statement Tuesday. “But hiding in Russia without my permission is like baseball: you only get to go home after you have been sufficiently hit around.”