The kidnapping and subsequent safe return in Venezuela of Rockies catcher Yorvit Torrealba's eleven-year-old son and brother-in-law certainly makes matters like the firing of manager Clint Hurdle seem minor by comparison. And yet the holding of athletes' family members for ransom is hardly novel in that country. As noted in this ESPN piece, the mother of ex-pitcher Ugueth Urbina remained in captivity for a whopping five months. Maybe that's why El Universal, a leading Venezuelan newspaper, treated the Torrealba incident as practically routine: one small article noting that the relatives had been grabbed and an equally brief one about their recovery. Our resident Spanish expert, Jane Le, translates "Rescatado hijo del grande liga Yorvit Torrealba," the headline of the latter offering, as "The son of major leaguer Yorvit Torrealba was recovered."
We've certainly had a terrible wave of violent crime around here of late, as our Mile High Murder archives documents. But at least the kidnapping of a prominent athlete's child still has the capacity to shock us -- as well as to remind us that whether the hometown baseball team wins or loses is a minor matter in the overall scheme of things.