Former Pittsburgh Pirate Raul Mondesi is a pretty well known name in Pittsburgh, he played with the Pirates for a while. Mondesi then did the unthinkable, he got tired of being a Pirate and traded in his dirty eyepatch for a first-place Angels halo.
Mondesi is now a politician in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic. It’s also pleasant to see Raul is up to his old tricks again. He pulled an Arlen Specter and switched parties. Of course some of the political pundits aren’t big fans. He is now running for mayor of San Cristobal, the country’s sixth largest city.
Mondesi’s competiton for the mayoral seat is a politician named Jose Rijo. Yeh, that Jose Rijo, MVP of the 1990 World Series, a pitcher that Mondesi hit .333 against with a double and three K’s, and the man who was forced out of the Washington Nationals because of ”irregularites” within the Dominican baseball operation. [Here is a solid story by Bryan Curtis from March on Rijo and his 'mountain of dreams' baseball academy and perhaps an even more interesting story by Bryan Curtis on Rijo's Cigar Bar.]
Maybe all the ”irregularities” is the reason why Rijo isn’t expected to get his party’s nod on the ticket? Or maybe it’s because Mondesi switched parties and will need to be awarded for doing so? By the way, there isn’t a vote, the party leaders decide who will be on the ticket.
So you thought American politics was insane…Check out some of this hilarity from the LA Times:
“His intellectual shortcomings are obvious,” one political observer notes. “We don’t know of one project that Raul Mondesi has submitted.”
First elected in 2006 to the Chamber of Deputies — the Dominican equivalent of the U.S. House of Representatives — as a member of President Leonel Fernandez’s Dominican Liberation Party, or PLD, Mondesi jumped to the opposition Dominican Revolutionary Party, or PRD, during his second term.
Mondesi was rewarded with the backing of some heavy hitters as his politcal advisors after he switched parties. The advisors helped him during a recent meeting. The advisors…
arrived for a campaign meeting at Mondesi’s nightclub and car wash recently wearing crisp white polo shirts with the candidate’s name on them. Mondesi, looking as trim and fit as he did during three consecutive 30-home-run seasons with the Dodgers a decade ago, arrived nearly an hour later in a glistening white Mercedes S600, wearing a button-up shirt and a fishing hat and wanting to talk about alleviating poverty.
“Most of the people, they don’t have anything,” said Mondesi, who grew up in crushing circumstances just a few miles away. “I know what they need, how they feel.”
Asked for specifics, however, and the closest he comes to a campaign pledge is repeating a desire to build a basketball court in every neighborhood.
“The first thing,” said Mondesi, who didn’t study beyond grade school, “is to try to show the young people how to play sports.”
Rijo and Mondesi, who combined made more than $100 million in their baseball careers, live on the edge of town in neighboring mansions, surrounded by 8-foot-high walls topped with concertina wire and protected by armed guards. And that’s not all they have in common. Three years ago, they were both hit with heavy fines for rigging illegal connections to their homes that allowed them to use electricity without paying for it.