Thursday, November 10, 2011

A long and difficult day

Associated Press photo
Fans hold a candlelight vigil for Wilson Ramos outside a ballpark in Venezuela.
They played baseball in three Venezuelan cities tonight, participants on all teams wearing green ribbons on their jerseys, fans holding candlelight vigils outside the gates, prayers being recited by everyone in attendance.

And in the Ramos home on the outskirts of Valencia, a family and a tight-knit community sat helpless, waiting through an interminable day for any bits of information that might offer some clues about the whereabouts and status of the soft-spoken, 24-year-old catcher who has suddenly become the victim of the highest-profile kidnapping case in baseball history.

"Thanks for your prayers and support," family friend Marfa Mata posted on her Twitter account this evening. "We don't know anything about him. Still waiting..."

A flurry of reports and developments earlier in the day offered some hope that resolution to the ordeal might be forthcoming. But the afternoon and evening were eerily quiet, and the one development everyone wanted to hear -- Wilson Ramos' safe return home -- had not yet come.

Instead, confusion reigned, with more questions being raised than answered. The Venezuelan intelligence police insisted it could confirm Ramos was alive, yet offered no details. Ramos' family, meanwhile, insisted it had not been contacted by the kidnappers, even as the clock ticked past the 24-hour mark.

How were those seemingly contradictory reports possible? How could anyone know for certain Ramos was alive if his abductors had not yet contacted his family?

The truth perhaps can be found by examining the words not used by authorities. Ramos' kidnappers have not yet contacted his family, but no one has said if they've contacted anyone else.

Then there is the unsettling lack of information coming from the Washington Nationals and Major League Baseball. Aside from a three-sentence, joint statement that offered little more than their support for Ramos and his family, neither MLB nor the Nationals is saying anything. Team officials have declined comment; players have been told they cannot answer questions.

Read between the lines, and it should be clear the Nationals and MLB know a lot more than they're letting on and are actively involved in the attempt to bring Ramos home.

And that's how it should be. This pursuit of a captured teammate, relative and friend is a difficult enough task without the public knowing specific details. The best way to ensure the best possible outcome is to keep the general public (and, in this case, Ramos' abductors) out of the loop.

Make no mistake, MLB has prepared for such a situation. An active major leaguer may never have been kidnapped before, but the league and its Department of Investigations (which has officials on the ground in Venezuela) knew this might happen some day and must have had protocols in place to deal with it.

We probably won't learn all the details until this ordeal is over -- and there may be plenty of details we never learn in the interest of preventing future kidnappings -- but rest assured there are a lot of people right now working extremely hard to bring Ramos safely home.

That may or may not be consolation to everyone who has been nervously waiting more than 24 hours for good news. But for now, it's as close as we're going to get to a comforting thought.

In the meantime, they played three ballgames in Venezuela tonight, Ramos' Aragua club beating Margarita 7-3, Jesus Flores going 1-for-2 with a double for Magallanes to raise his batting average to a league-high .400.

All the while, a community gathered in Valencia and continued the interminable wait for information about its missing son.

And back in D.C., the rest of us watched from afar, hoping the news we all want to hear will be delivered sometime soon.

40 comments:

Traveler8 said...

Mark, thanks for the update and the reasoned assessment. We continue to pray.

natsfan1a said...

Thanks, Mark. Continuing to pray here as well.

Anonymous said...

In this case, I think the less said publicly, the better chance for a positive outcome. Thanks for the update. Let's hope that those truly in the know are keeping mum for Wilson's benefit.

morsefan38 said...

6 pm at Nats Park Friday for a candlelight vigil for Wilson...Really hoping he comes back safe.

Section 109 said...

I keep thinking of Adam Kilgore's story back in September about Ramos's mom and sister visiting here to see him play and how moving that was for Ramos. Hang in there Wilson, hang in there Wilson's mom! Thank you Mark for keeping us informed and for your sensitivity and compassion.

natsfan1a said...

That was a great story. Hope she'll be watching him for years to come.

Unkyd said...

Pins and needles, here... Praying to wake to wonderful news.

Thanks Mark.

SonnyG10 said...

I'm really worried and I'm praying for Wilson's safe return. Thanks for the update, Mark. Those are some comforting thoughts.

Grandstander said...

He's in my thoughts tonight, hoping very much for his safe return. Hopefully it won't even be necessary, but I'll be at the vigil tomorrow.

Such a tragedy.

Whatsanattu said...

I am looking forward to an opening day lineup that includes Wilson batting 7th or 8th. I project a couple of hits and a caught stealing. I'm thinking he will get a standing ovation at each park he plays with a particularly touching and enthusiastic ovation at the home opener. I think his whole family will be there - perhaps sitting behind home plate embarrassing the moment.

JennX said...

Thanks for the continuous updates, Mark. Hoping we all wake up to good news tomorrow morning...

joemktg said...

Was hoping for some positive news this AM, however the tweets indicate status quo.

natsfan1a said...

That's beautiful, Whatsa, and it made me cry. I hope your vision comes true.

Rabbit said...

Absolutely, don't give the public any information. The best way to get Ramos killed is to give information to the public about what is being done. I think the kidnappers might be able to read.....but that may be questionable.

LoveDaNats said...

I am checking this blog and news sources about every hour, it seems. I cannot get this out of my mind. I pray that he will come home safely and be reunited with his family.

NaterialGuy said...

I think one important positive factor in this is that the kidnappers were seen and therefore able to be identified by multiple people. That would seem to be much better then in situations where the only one that can identify them is the the kidnapped victim. I am feeling as good as is possible about an awful situation. We are all with the Ramos family. Hang in there.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Re: vigil--be aware Metro trains are closed for repairs this weekend, starting last night, from Waterfront to Congress Heights, on the Green Line. They're running shuttle busses, FWIW, between L'Enfant and Southern Ave, and presumably stations in between, so allow lots of time if you go that way tonight.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

@Mark--and speaking of extra time, this page is taking a long time to load again today, which is unusual. When this breaks, you may want to have more capacity available.

Anonymous said...

I'm nervous, very nervous and scared. Two things scare me the most, one that they might hurt him, and second and even more scary is that Ramos might have been in on the plan. I know that sounds bad, and I'm a conspiracy theorist at heart. But think about this, in all other cases. The kidnappers kidnap the loved one of a rich person. In this case they kidnapped the "rich" person. So the target of the extortion must be the Nationals/MLB. That would explain why no one in his home country knows whats going on, since the kidnappers would be sending their demands up north.

NatsLady said...

Read a story that it could take weeks... But they won't harm Wilson as long as negotiations are taking place.

Liberen a Wilson. Free Wilson.

MicheleS said...

Still praying and hoping for the best possible outcome. My thoughts are with his family - Having seen and read how close he is with them and how happy he was to have him mom and sister in the US over the summber - I can't imagine what they are going through. Free Wilson!

Dawn said...

Anon@7:37AM. There is no way he would jeopardize his career or worry his family, baseball family and friends. He was supposed to play last night, knowing how hard he fought to get where he is in his career, conspiracy? Nope.

Was hoping to wake up to good news and came right to the Insider. May all of you have a thoughtful, safe Veteran's Day.

natsfan1a said...

Um, no.

and even more scary is that Ramos might have been in on the plan

Drew8 said...

Once Wilson is back home safely (please, God) maybe we should get the anons some nutritional supplements, some remedial courses, or maybe a purgative to counter the ingesting of lead paint chips.

Someone actually thinks Wilson would be complicit in this. Really?

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Anon 7:37--you're right, it does sound bad. there's a reason for that. Get a hold of yourself.

Brett said...

Great post Mark. Thanks for your insightful analysis.

NatStat said...

@ Anonymous @ 7:37

Time for you to put down the bottle, and grab some Prozac.

sm13 said...

Thanks for the updates Mark. This has been an agonizing two days for the Ramos family and for the Nats family -- which includes your loyal fans. My thoughts are with Wilson, who must be going through heck. I'm hoping that today brings good news and an end to this frightening episode.

sm13 said...

I just heard reference on TV to a vigil in Wilson's honor at 6pm tonight at Nats Park. Can anyone confirm this? Thanks!

Scooter said...

sm13, commenters here have mentioned it, and this morning's Nationals Journal says, "Supporters in Washington have organized a candlelight vigil outside Nationals Park tonight at 6 p.m."

sm13 said...

thank you Scooter!

Gonat said...

natsfan1a said...
Um, no.

and even more scary is that Ramos might have been in on the plan

November 11, 2011 8:05 AM
_____________________________

A guy who could buy out his arb years + 1 FA season today and sign a $15 million deal for 6 years which Rizzo would do in a second doesn't need money in any slimey scheme.

While he isn't wealthy on $400,000 a year after paying taxes etc., he does well for a 24 year old.

natsfan1a said...

Just to clarify, only the "Um, no." was mine. The rest came from Anon@7:37.

NatsLady said...

Gonat, no kidding. Rizzo would sign a catcher like that for big money, as you say, to buy out his future.

I hate to say it, but Reyes, et. al, are going elsewhere. No way the Nats make a $100+ million deal right now, with the kidnappers reading newspapers. And the rest of MLB GM's, much as they may sympathize, are not going to put their teams on hold.

And, you know what? So be it. Ramos' life is worth more than a Reyes deal, or even a winning season. Period.

LoveDaNats said...

I am going out of town in a couple hours otherwise I would be at the vigil tonight.
Mark, any chance you might be covering and can relay any news?

JaneB said...

I thought the same thing, NatsLady. Right down to the Period.

m20832 said...

Thanks for the news and updates Mark. Prayers for Wilson. Lord, may he come out of this safely without harm. Amen

natsfan1a said...

I wasn't even thinking about Reyes or any other deal but do agree that the worth of Ramos' (or anyone else's) life transcends any baseball transactions.

Unkyd said...

I'm quite the optimist... Strife usually shifts me into a default mode of blessing-counting, and appreciation. Weeks like this make it more difficult: No Mom should ever have to sit around, wondering when (or if, God forbid!) she'll hold her baby again. And , (Dear Lord!), no CHILD(!) should ever have to deal with a monster, who'll steal their innocence, forever affecting the way they view the world... It takes such an effort, to remind myself that, for every unforgivable evil, there really IS a corresponding, wondrous good, to offset it's bad karma... Trying, really hard here, to remain grateful, as I pray for the victims of Monsters, and and for Wilson's safe return....

John C. said...

I'll be heading down to the park tonight. Because of the holidays the parking restrictions are lifted. Hope to see/meet some of you there. Safe home, Wilson.

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