Rolando Viera

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Rolando Viera
Pitcher
Born: (1973-08-01) August 1, 1973 (age 41)
Havana, Cuba
Bats: Left Throws: Left

Rolando Viera (born August 1, 1973) is a Cuban-born, left-handed baseball pitcher who unsuccessfully sued Major League Baseball to challenge its draft procedures for Cuban players. Viera signed with the Boston Red Sox and played for its minor league affiliates before being released as a free agent.

Background[edit]

South Paw Pitcher, Rolando Viera {[Mezquia]}{[II]} 5'10" Avg weight 230lbs., born August 1, 1973; began his career in baseball as a youth in Havana Cuba. His first coach and most fervent fan was and still is his Father, Rolando Viera-Viera Sr.{[I]}; who trained and played baseball with his young son every day without fail. His Father was and still is, the most influential person in Viera's {[II]} life. His Father never missed one game in which the young Viera played while living in Cuba.

As a young, talented, rising star in baseball, Viera {[II]}; moved quickly into "Major League" status in Havana Cuba in 1993, when he was drafted by the famous, {[Los Industriales]}, "Los Leones" at the young age of 20. His meteoric rise in baseball left many wondering if the young Lion would be satisfied to remain in Cuba or if he would seek fame and fortune in the USA; as so many a talented Cuban baseball player before him had done. In Cuba, Viera{[II]}, was a teammate of pitcher Adrian "El Duquecito Hernandez, who left Cuba in the late 90's and signed with the New York Yankees. Orlando "El Duque Hernandez, who pitches for the Yankees, also played for {[Los Industriales]}, before leaving Cuba in December 1997.

Rolando Viera {[II]} is well known for making fast work of any and all that step into the batter's box in hopes of achieving a home run from any fiery, well directed and controlled pitch Viera {[II]} catapults in their direction.

In 1995, after two very successful seasons with {[Los Industriales]}, "El Leon" Rolando Viera {[II]} contracted {[hepatitis]} and was forced to sit out the entire 1995 season. He returned to baseball in the 1996 season and continued to be a major force for {[Los Industriales]}. Viera's {[II]} love for his country, his strong sense of patriotic duty, loyalty and pride he felt for his fellow team mates; and his fierce passion for the sport of baseball created a sense of contentment within Viera {[II]} and an everlasting desire to remain in Cuba as a National Hero and Champion.

Viera {[II]}, pitched six seasons in Cuba, going 22-19 with two saves and a 3.42 ERA. In 87 games {[48 starts]}, he pitched 318 1/3 IP, with 200 strikeouts and 131 walks; opponents hit .264 against him. In 1999, the last season he officially played baseball in Cuba; Viera{[II]} achieved an outstanding 18-10 record with a 3.12 ERA. During the later part of the 1999 season with {[Los Industriales]}, his final record for the 1999 season was 8-6 with a 3.16 ERA, his record reflects he struck out 54 and walked 28 in 88 innings! If Rolando Viera {[II]} let a player walk onto a base, you can believe it was always part of his plan to catch that player on the backside and send him back to the dugout empty-handed.

Rolando Viera {[II]}, believing that he would live his life ¡Siempre Cubaǃ soon learned in 2000; that everything he knew and loved was going to shortly be torn away from him by the greed and lust of one person very close to him.

As a young man, Viera {[II]} married his first wife, Lorraine in 1998 and divorced her in 2000. One son, Rolando Viera III was born August 2, 1999. Viera's {[II]} love for his new born son would not be the glue that Lorraine hoped for in her failed attempt to maintain control over Rolando Viera {[II]}. He soon divorced Lorraine and married again (in Cuba), to Lillie {*Privacy*}. Lorraine not willing to concede losing Viera {[II]}, decided to force Viera {[II]} into a position that would gain her, her "dream" of living in the USA as the wife of a Major League Baseball Player.

In 2000, Viera's EX-wife, Lorraine applied for an {[AMERICAN US VISA]} on behalf of {["her" "husband"]}, Rolando Viera {[II]}, herself and their infant son, through the {[CUBAN NATIONAL LOTTERY SYSTEM]}; all without the knowledge or permission of Viera {[II]}.

Once the Cuban National Government, i.e. the "President" of Cuba {[Fidel/Raul Castro]}, was made aware that Viera's name came up on the {[CUBAN NATIONAL VISA LOTTERY]} Award List; Rolando Viera {[II]} was instantly dubbed a traitor by the very country that he was dedicated to; and his life and career were quickly dismantled before his eyes.

In 2000, Viera {[II]} was immediately stripped off of and suspended from his beloved team, {[Los Industriales]}. His team mates, not fully understanding that Lorraine was the culprit behind Viera's{[II]} new misfortune and current Ex-Patriot Status; turned their backs on Viera {[II]}, as well. Viera's {[II]} home, belongings, finances, and identity were stripped from him and he was forced into the streets of Havana Cuba. His beloved Father, Rolando SR> {[I]} brought his famous and impoverished, son home and began a campaign to help get his son re-instated with {[Los Industriales}].

Rolando Viera-Viera SR. {[I]}, quickly jumped into action on behalf of his son and his family; knowing full well that his son's misfortune could possibly, also soon be the misfortune of every member of Rolando Viera's {[II]} family. Not knowing what to do and after many attempts to contact the Cuban Officials and beg for their forgiveness and for mercy for his son; Rolando SR. {[I]} knowing full well his son or he himself could end up in prison in Cuba; was left with no choice other than to somehow collect the necessary {[EXIT VISA]}funds together to save his son and send him to the USA. Viera SR.{[I]} convinced his son, {[Viera II]} that there was no hope of him ever being allowed by the Cuban Authorities to return to his life and career in baseball in Cuba. He told his son that he must leave Cuba quickly and seek a new life and career in MLB in the USA.

Lorraine, thinking that she had achieved success and would now leave Cuba with Rolando Viera {[II]} as his "wife" along with their young son, Rolando Viera {[III]}; {[SHE]},soon learned that she and their son would have to remain behind in Cuba, as she was not "Legally" married to Rolando Viera {[II]}.

On April 25, 2001 Rolando Viera {[II]}, became the 1st Cuban National Baseball Player in history to exit Cuba by way of airplane; and legally immigrated into the United States with an {[American US VISA]} in hand, immediately being declared a Resident of the United States and a prime candidate for the upcoming {[BASEBALL DRAFT]}, and season in MLB Baseball.

As he was leaving Cuba, his first thought was for his young son, and his current wife, Lillie. He attempted to substitute Lillie's name in place of Lorraine's on the {[American US VISA]}; and when Lorraine discovered his plan, she contacted the Cuban National Government; and she once again forced Viera {[II]} to make a very difficult decision. Viera {[II]} boarded the plane alone, a single man once again. He divorced Lillie prior to leaving Cuba, so that she would be given the opportunity to create a new life for herself in Cuba. He left behind his entire family, his sweet, young son (whom he adores), his beloved Father and Mother, his sisters, his identity, and what he had always believed was his destiny; ¡Siempre Cubaǃ ¡Siempre Beisbolǃ ¡Siempre Los Industrialesǃ

In late 2001, Lorraine, not willing to release her hold on Viera {[II]}, by way of their young son; secured an {[American US VISA]}; for herself and their son, {[Rolando III]}. Upon arriving in the USA, Lorraine wasted no time in convincing Viera {[II]}, that he should re-marry her and together they would raise their son. Thinking only of his son, he re-married Lorraine so that he could have the benefit of caring for the person he felt in his heart, was his "ONLY" family in the United States.

While living temporarily with extended family members in Florida, Viera {[II]} began to seek a career once again in baseball, MLB. An "AGENT/MANAGER, {[Joe Kehoskie]}, soon found Viera {[II]}, {signed him to an unfair contract with his agency}; but {[Kehoskie]}, was still extremely successful in putting Rolando Viera's {[II]} name in front of the "Powers" of MLB. Thus, securing success for himself and his agency, as well. Viera {[II]} was thrust into the limelight with little understanding of English or the laws of the United States. It was suggested by {[Kehoskie]} that Viera{[II]} (and) {[Kehoskie]}could mutually benefit financially if Viera {[II]} could somehow be declared a "FREE AGENT".

Although Viera {[II]}, did not win in his attempt to be declared a "FREE AGENT"; he secured his place in history and in Major League Baseball as the First Cuban immigrant to challenge an established authority and system.

June 2001, Viera {[II]} now at the age of 27 (just 2 months from his 28th birthday); and considered a Resident of the United States of America; Viera {[II]} did not want to be "drafted"; whereby removing his ability to negotiate a fair contract with any MLB Team; through attorney's Viera {[II]}filed a {[Lawsuit/REstraining Order]} that would allow him "FREE AGENT" Status and the ability to negotiate a more financially favorable contract that would insure him the same wages being received by other "FREE AGENTS", and the ability to supplement his income with outside private endorsements.

His first attempt at the {[Lawsuit/Restraining Order]} failed and in June 2001, Rolando Viera {[II]}, became the 7th Round Draft Pick for the [{Boston Red Sox FRANCHISE]}. Head Scout for the Boston Red Sox, {[Wayne Britton]} stated that if Viera continued to pitch every game throughout his career the way he pitched against the Detroit Tigers in their first game of the 2001 Season; Rolando Viera{[II]} will have no difficulty in securing a solid place in MLB History. Although, Viera was signed and agreed to a specific amount to be paid throughout the life of the contract with the [{RED SOX Franchise]}, he never fully received all of his "SIGN ON BONUS", nor did he receive all of his "PER GAME BONUSES", like the other {[FREE AGENTS]} i.e. {[Professional Baseball PLayers]}.


After Viera {II]} had two very successful years in MLB, but not quite the amount of money expected nor paid, Lorraine Viera abandoned her marriage to Rolando Viera {[II]} and they divorced. She took their young son and left Viera {[II]} destitute and emotionally broken. The "NEW" had worn off of Viera {[II]} and the [{Boston Red Sox FRANCHISE]} found themselves once again looking for an MLB "HOPEFUL" pitcher. Viera {[II]} was bumped to Minor League Status within the Red Sox Organization/FRANCHISE. Viera {[II]} not taking the {[HINT]} to step up his game so that he could return to MLB, settled into his slowly descending career. After being released by the Boston Red Sox "NON-PROFIT", "FRANCHISE"{[MLB]}, Viera {[II]} struggled to maintain the physical stamina necessary to compete in the Major Leagues. He drifted through a successful career in the Minor Leagues and the International Leagues.


Shortly after arriving into the Minor Leagues in 2004; Viera married Cuban/American and Florida resident, Sonia Leiva in January 2006 (becoming wife number 4) after living together for two years. They both have a daughter that goes by the name of Angelina born on July of 2007. Viera and Leiva Separated in February 2010 after Leiva realized Viera had a baby girl with a Mexican fan in 2009 when he went to play for the Winter League in Mexico. Their divorce was finalized on November 2013 and Leiva has sole custody of their daughter Angelina.


Leiva, constantly helped and guided Viera {[II]} throughout their marriage ,she was the bread winner because Viera only knew how to play baseball and did not know how to do anything else. Viera fantasized he would once again be able to return to his former MLB career and a better life for the family, so Leiva became his manager to help him find jobs in the Independent Baseball Leagues. Viera could no longer pitch so he would not get contracted for the minor leagues. He refused to work if it's not in the baseball field.


Early 2014, Leiva{[II]} settled in Miami in separate households, their young daughter, Angelina never sees her father nor gets support financially nor emotionally from her father Rolando Viera. Viera has only seen his daughter 4 times since his separation in February 2010.


From the very first day his Father put a baseball glove on his young son's right hand and placed a baseball in his young son's left hand, it has always been Rolando Viera's {[II]} destiny to become a "Force of Nature" to be reckoned with in the game of Baseball.


Whether you love his game, hate his game, love the man, or hate the man; Rolando Viera {[II]} has made his mark in History and he is still making his mark in Baseball History by continuing to give freely of himself and give freely of his undeniable talent to the "Future Champions of Baseball". Each and every day, (to honor his Father, Rolando Viera-Viera {[I]}); Viera {[II]} shows his respect and love by training the future baseball champions each week. He displays the same dedication and loyalty that was given him as a child by his Father. Rolando Viera {[II]} is much loved and cherished by those that truly know the man.


Throughout {[Kehoskie's]} management of Viera's {[II]} baseball career, he wasted time and neglected to secure any real substantiative private offers on Viera's{[II]} behalf. {[Kehoskie]} failed to protect Viera and his brand, and /or just outright robbed Viera {[II]} by not protecting, incorporating, and getting a "CopyRight" on the "VIERA NAME". This left Viera{[II]} at the mercy of MLB's interests and the interests of {[Kehoskie]} himself. Viera {[II]} was subsequently sued by {[Kehoskie]} and forced to pay him an outrageous amount of money in damages. Viera's {[II]} EX-wife Lorraine has remained a solid fixture in his wallet as well, demanding more and more money each year.


Although he has never regained the 95 mph "South Paw", fast pitch which won him his 7th Round Draft pick spot with the Boston Red Sox "FRANCHISE"; Viera{[II]} is renowned for his fast pitch, splitter and screw ball, all of which still leave many a player several years his junior scratching their heads wondering to themselves as they return to the dugout empty handed..."What the heck just happened?". If he "allows" a player to get a hit it's only because he is tired of watching that player make a fool of themselves in the batter's box and it's his way of letting that player know he won't be making it 'round the bases to home safely. Viera {[II]} is a veteran "Warrier {[Lanzador, (Pitcher)]}" at the age of 41 in the Art of Pitching.

As of this writing November 2014, Rolando Viera {[II]} still maintains a semi-pro career, picking and choosing the games he wants to play throughout the United States. He is devoted to himself, his friends, his team mates, his home Country of Cuba, and the FABULOUS game of Baseball.

Whether or not he himself realizes it, all of the many things he has achieved and throughout the many injustices he forced to endure; has all been in preparation for him to receive the true riches that baseball gives him today. He is Training the Future Champions of baseball and his legacy, and his Father's legacy will continue to resonate throughout history, for many generations to come.



Sources: <Rolando Viera {[Mezquia]}{[II]}><Jane E. Hernandez><http://search.espn.go.com/rolando-viera/><http://www.cubanet.org/htdocs/CNews/y01/jun01/06e2.htm><espn.go.com/gen/s/2001/0709/1224095.html><http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Rolando_Viera><http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?P=Rolando-Viera>

MLB lawsuit[edit]

According to MLB rules, Cuban players were subject to the draft unless they came to the U.S. from a third country rather than directly from Cuba. Wishing to be instead treated as a free agent, Viera filed the first lawsuit by a player ever to challenge the baseball draft in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida and argued that the MLB draft rules were discriminatory. His request for an injunction was denied by Judge James D. Whittemore on June 4, who wrote that Viera could not meet the federal injunction standard because inclusion in the draft would not cause him to suffer irreparable harm.

Playing record[edit]

Viera became a seventh-round draft pick of the Boston Red Sox the same week; at 27, he was the oldest player in the draft that year. One Red Sox spokesman called the selection "a gamble" because no one from the team had yet seen him pitch; all they knew was that Viera had a winning record with Industriales and was left-handed. He signed a minor league contract with the team that gave him a $175,000 signing bonus and guaranteed him a Triple-A level salary despite the fact that he would be starting out as a Class-A player.

After signing with the Red Sox, Viera had a falling out with his agent, reportedly due to Viera's reluctance to pay any of the agent's fees or the costs of the lawsuit. Viera's trainer raised similar allegations against him, stating that Viera had failed to fully compensate him for the costs he had incurred on his behalf.

Viera started with the Trenton Thunder, the Double-A affiliate of the Red Sox, in the 2002 season. He was promoted midseason to the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox. His season began strong but his performance dipped towards the end, which he and the Red Sox international scouting coordinator attributed to his need to adjust to the more intensive American training schedule, particularly since Viera had missed a year playing. Due to his disappointing performance, the Red Sox released Viera from his contract after 2002, giving him the free agent status he wanted in the first place. Viera then played for the unaffiliated Newark Bears in the 2003 and 2004 seasons.

Viera subsequently played for the Elmira Pioneers—a team in the Canadian-American Association of Professional Baseball—and was recognized for player of the week two weeks after he had joined the league. He also played for the York Revolution of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.

External links[edit]