Seven Years After Coating Workers In Gasoline And Attacking Them With A Machete, Former Pitcher Ugueth Urbina Is Out Of Jail

  • Matt Rudnitsky

Ugueth Urbina was an effective relief pitcher for 11 MLB seasons until he decided to coat workers at his family’s ranch in gasoline and attack them with a machete.

That was in 2005. As you may have guessed, Urbina has been in a Venezuelan state prison ever since. But, recently, Urbina was released.

Venezuelan newspapers said Urbina was released early because of good behavior. During his time in prison, Urbina started three charitable organizations in an effort to rehabilitate his image.

It was like a time-out, for homicidal grown-ups.

And because there’s a movie script in all of this, he’s attempting a comeback!

Several Venezuelan newspapers speculated that Urbina, who had said in interviews from prison that he was still in playing shape, could attempt a comeback with the Leones del Caracas, his hometown winter league team, where he began his professional career. Urbina was part of a Leones bullpen in 1994-95 that recorded 40.2 consecutive scoreless innings, a record that still stands.

To be fair, “playing shape” for a reliever just means being physically able to field a bullpen call and trek out to the mound to a predetermined hip tune. “Getting in shape” for Urbina involves selecting said tune and resuming normal cellular activities.

The Leones spokesman Jose Manuel Fernandez said in a phone interview that he expected Urbina to soon visit several friends and former teammates, including the former Yankee Bobby Abreu, at the team’s stadium. Fernandez said he thought Urbina had been spending the past several days with family.

Apparently, there are reports that the 38-year old can still throw 90 mph.

What has also been confirmed in the wake of Urbina’s release is that he managed to stay in shape by continuing to play baseball in prison.

They could call the movie “The Tallest Mound,” or “The Fastest Fastball,” or “The Sharpest Machete,” or something! And if you forgot, Urbina’s mother was also kidnapped for a $6 million ransom a year before the attempted murder.

Some dude asks: will any MLB team take a chance on him? According to the dude, “if it would be anyone, it would be the Rays.” Because, moneyball! Market inefficiencies! Grab human-burners on the cheap! But, yeah, as the dude concedes, that’s highly unlikely, especially right away.

What isn’t highly unlikely, though, is finding the precise details of a human being coating other human beings in gasoline and attacking them with a machete. How does that even work? Did he do the gas first and say it was a new type of sunscreen, or something? Were his intentions clear? I want answers.

[New York Times]