Dodgers pitcher Joel Peralta had a customs nightmare at Miami International Airport.

Joel Peralta

New Dodgers pitcher Joel Peralta didn’t get the royal treatment at Miami International Airport. (Getty Images)

Have you ever run into a mean customs official at the airport? So did new Dodgers pitcher Joel Peralta.

According to Peralta’s agent, Mark Gilling, the pitcher was detained past midnight at Miami International Airport last Friday, preventing him from attending the Dodgers’ annual FanFest on Saturday.

“It was a complete disaster,” Gilling said.


En route to Los Angeles, Peralta and his wife flew into Miami from their off-season home in the Dominican Republic. When Peralta attempted to pass through customs with his 10-year visitors’ visa, he was told that wasn’t sufficient to participate in FanFest. Signing autographs requires a work visa, apparently.

They stayed in a cell at the airport for six hours, Gilling said, until “another guy eventually came over and recognized him and said ‘˜you can let him through.’™ ”

By then, it was 1 o’clock in the morning. The Peraltas were unable to get a flight to Los Angeles in time for FanFest, so they caught a flight home instead.

Gilling said that Peralta is getting his work visa today in the Dominican Republic and won’t miss the start of spring training.

As the old saying goes, it can happen to anyone.

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.