José Abreu’s story is more than eating a passport

 <img alt="" src="" />      <p>Thursday’s Say Hey, Baseball includes the worst month for baseball, a wind-up to keep an eye on and José Abreu’s testimony.</p> <p id="8w5DSg">Listen, we know it’s tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn’t easy. It’s OK, though, we’re going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning, and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network, as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you <a href="">subscribe to the newsletter</a>.</p> <p id="YXSuJO"> </p> <p style="text-align: center;letter-spacing: 0.25em">* * *</p> <p> </p> <p id="Fuw7Uq">The fact that José Abreu had <a href="">eaten his false passport </a>while flying to the United States for the first time spread quickly yesterday afternoon as a headline, and with good reason. It’s exactly the sort of bizarre story scrap that sticks in your head as almost too intense to be real. Part of Abreu's testimony against the agent and trainer who allegedly illegally smuggled him and other ballplayers from Cuba to the U.S., the story mixes jarring details against the ordinary backdrop of a regular commercial flight. He describes ordering a beer and using it to help swallow the first page of his passport "little by little" after takeoff, able to recall every feature down to the brand of the drink more than three years after the flight.</p> <p id="h5ddKv">It's the catchiest part of Abreu's testimony, the strangest, the most visceral. It's been the headline, and that makes sense. But it's only one piece of a larger and more complicated story that's not limited to Abreu. In other parts of his testimony, the first baseman described making $ 20 a month playing in Cuba before deciding to flee with members of his family, making the trip to Haiti in a crowded night-time boat ride. Then came the opportunity to sign with the Chicago White Sox, and with it came the false passport and the millions of dollars owed to the agent who promised to get him to the U.S. and, finally, the situation in which he had little choice but to eat that false passport in order to make it disappear.</p> <p id="RQxjta">The stories of many other Cuban MLB players are not so different from this; there's Yoenis Cespedes on the witness list for this same trial and Yasiel Puig's<a href=""> tale of black-market smuggling</a> and the late José Fernández's <a href="">decision to dive from his escape boat</a> to save his mother from drowning. The details change but the central theme does not, and it's the same for dozens of current major leaguers. Eating a passport is the headline, then, but a reminder of the pervasive risk and dedication in these baseball immigrant narratives is the story.</p> <p id="SLocks"> </p> <ul> <li id="YBw2I3">Grant Brisbee <a href="">ranks the months of baseball</a>, and the slow spring training games of March rightfully come in dead last.</li> <br> <li id="sRTvqW">A fan at yesterday's Houston Astros-Seattle Mariners game <a href="">almost had a nifty catch</a> on a home run ball—until he lost out to the hill he was running on.</li> <br> <li id="tEHTrt">MLB has told David Price that his wind-up has "<a href="">too much deception</a>," and the league will be keeping an eye on it.</li> <br> <li id="pWyEb2">The New York Yankees clearly instruct their players to <a href="">steer clear of media controversies</a>, so why don't their executives follow the same rule?</li> <br> <li id="9obN55">There are few baseball brainteasers more interesting than figuring out <a href="">the best hypothetical Mike Trout trade package</a>, but Rahul Setty of Halos Heaven doesn't find them quite so fun.</li> <br> <li id="dPW9TF">Take a trip down memory lane and <a href="">remember the glory of <em>MVP Baseball 2005</em></a>.</li> <br> <li id="sGYhyH">Beloved as Yadier Molina is, <a href="">does he have the numbers</a> to be the St. Louis Cardinals' best catcher of all time?</li> <br> <li id="e0jIyh">Dallas Keuchel was very different in 2015 (Cy Young winner!) than he was in 2016 (aggressively mediocre pitcher!) <a href="">So who will he be in 2017?</a> Zach Crizer of Beyond the Box Score tries to find the answer.</li> <br> <li id="ymGVBY">Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Oaks showed off <a href="">his impressive skills on the piano</a> in the clubhouse yesterday.</li> <br> </ul> – All Posts