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.