Former MLB closer Ugueth Urbina was recently released from a Venezuelan prison five and a half years into a 14-year sentence. He got that sentence, in case you're wondering, for trying to make his workers into human Molotov cocktails and hacking them up with a machete because he thought they stole one of his guns.
I’ve never been to Venezuelan prison, but I can imagine five and a half years probably felt like 14, and if Uggie was on his best behavior who am I to say he shouldn’t be let out early? My issue here is the reaction that his release has garnered from his former friends and colleagues.
The news broke on Twitter with his son tweeting out this picture and saying ”Finally with my father!” I understand being excited to see your dad, even if he is a machete-wielding lunatic. Family is family, and no amount of violent outbursts will change the fact that Juan Urbina is the fruit of Uggie’s homicidal loins.
But soon after the news broke, Bobby Abreu gave his feelings about his being released.
“I’m very happy because my buddy is currently free,” Abreu said. “Anyone who knows him well, knows his humanity, regardless of the (incident). I love and respect him a lot.”
Humanity? Is it “humane” to do this to another person?
I don’t own a gun, so I can’t say just how I would react if someone stole one from me, but I’d hope that it would be a little more “humane” than this.
Maybe I’m missing the point. Urbina has apparently served his debt to society, so who am I to take issue with people – especially his friends – being happy that he’s out. Uggie was a closer who thrived off his emotions and he could have very easily gotten carried away that day. Everyone loses control of their emotions from time to time, but usually that doesn’t result in chasing your workers around the family compound with a can of gasoline and a tool used for clearing a trail through the jungle.
The best part about the whole story is that while he was in prison he continued to pitch – with reports saying that he has been clocked over 90 mph. This prompted reporters to ask his former Venezuelan team GM whether or not Urbina still had a place on the team now that he was a free man.
Juan Vicente Zerpa, manager of the Leones de Caracas of the Venezuelan winter league, said he would “welcome” Urbina on his team. “He already paid his debt to society,” Zerpa said. “This is his home; our doors are open to Ugueth Urbina. He is a Lion.”
All I’m saying is if you see Uggie Urbina at a gas station near you – be careful. Lions, no matter how well trained, have a natural inclination towards violence.