Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Report: More and More Ballplayers Being Delayed From Spring Training By American Express Problems

Clearwater, FL (Mar. 12) - The spring training tradition of Latin ballplayers being delayed from reporting to their clubs due to Visa problems has taken on a different twist, according to new reports.

More and more players are now being delayed by American Express problems, says baseball financial expert Richard Sorensen.

"We're seeing a dramatic increase in ballplayers -- American players, specifically -- arriving late to their spring camps due to American Express problems," Sorensen said in an exclusive interview with Spoiled Sports.

The problems vary, Sorensen says -- ranging from billing concerns to disputes over purchases that the ballplayers say were never made.

"American Express has been losing its way when it comes to customer service," Sorensen said.

Sorensen says the problem rears its head during the beginning of spring training due to the company's billing cycle.

"Typically, Amex (shorthand version) sends out its bills the second week of February," Sorensen explained. "And that's right when ballplayers are packing and getting ready to head to Florida or Arizona. The timing is bad. So the players are trying to deal with these problems, which makes them late for camp."

Sorensen cited Tigers outfielder/DH Gary Sheffield.

"Sheffield was two days late because of American Express problems," Sorensen said. "Apparently a payment he made crossed in the mail, and Sheffield had a very bad experience with what he called 'snotty' customer service reps. So he was late."

American Express spokesperson Mary Reilly said that the "problems" are largely the fault of the players themselves.

"American Express prides itself on its customer service," Reilly said. "Ballplayers are men. Men are notorious procrastinators. So they don't alert us to any concerns until they're in their big, expensive cars and SUVs, driving to Florida or wherever. They're the ones that are snotty, let me tell you!"

Sorensen said a record 44 ballplayers were late to camp because of American Express problems, including new Marlins catcher Mike Rabelo, who is still hung up at his home in Durham, NC.

"Rabelo has serious issues with American Express," Sorensen said. "They have to go back, like, six months to find some billing errors. It's a real nightmare."

Sorensen said Rabelo hopes to report to Marlins camp by the weekend, "if all goes well."

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