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Pete Parise To Puerto Rico…Finally

prblToday, Pete Parise took off on a plane headed towards San Juan, Puerto Rico.  As of this moment, he is preparing to play for Ponce, the reigning champions of the Puerto Rico Baseball League (PRBL).  I say “as of this moment,” because with the PRBL, what you think you know, you actually have no idea about.  But it is not your fault.  Let’s take a trip down memory lane and see why just today, on November 6, with only days until the start of the PRBL season (games begin on November 12), I can finally only 99% confidently announce which team Pete will be playing for this Winter.

During this past year’s All-Star Break, Pete and I were discussing his options regarding where he would play this Winter.  As a rising star within the St. Louis Cardinals organization, Pete had offers from teams in Venezuela and Puerto Rico.  We determined that while Venezuelan teams were offering Pete more money, Puerto Rico was a better fit.  He latched on to Ponce’s manager, Eduardo Perez, and signed a contract to play for Ponce.  Everybody was happy, and Pete continued to perform amazingly down the final stretch for the AAA Memphis Redbirds.  He was named Reliever of the Year for the Redbirds, where he had a record breaking postseason as the team’s closer.

During the All-Star break, Pete signed with Ponce as a free-agent.  But apparently, there was a discrepancy with the contract’s date or something along the lines that Ponce never turned it into the league office in time (we still do not know the actual problem and probably never will).  Then, on October 8, we get word that Arecibo drafted Pete Parise.  This was news to me, Pete, and everyone in Ponce’s organization.  How could Arecibo, Ponce’s rival for the top spot in the PRBL, draft Pete when Ponce had already secured the rights to my client?

This occurred on October 8.  Not until this past Tuesday was the matter finally resolved.  And to tell you the truth, the battle may not be over.  From October 8 to now, I have talked to the manager of Ponce and Arecibo at least five times every week, and even more often through text.  I have come to have a great relationship with people like Eduardo Perez and Pachy Rodriguez, and wish that all parties involved could leave this dilemma as winners.  Unfortunately, that is not the case.

In the beginning, I had to turn in an allegation letter, stipulating the facts of the matter at hand and outlining everything that happened from Day 1 of Pete’s conversations with Ponce.  Arecibo played by the PRBL’s mandate, which was to place Pete in the draft.  But unfortunately, that mandate did not follow the PRBL’s own rules.  Since Pete had already signed with Ponce, his name should have never been in the draft pool, in the first place.  It took many weeks, but the PRBL finally had a hearing regarding the matter, and earlier this week ruled that Pete had actually officially signed with Ponce.

So Pete is off to Puerto Rico to play for Ponce…for now.  Pete is pumped to give Ponce his all, and has been training non-stop since the close of the Memphis Redbirds’ season.  At least it is nice to know that my client is a wanted man!

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

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