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The Sad Case of Gilberto Reyes

In all likelihood, you don't think very often about former major league catcher Gilberto Reyes. The one-time Dodgers and Expos backstop completed a largely anonymous career long ago, and while the legends of some of the pitchers he caught -- Orel Hershiser and Randy Johnson among them -- have only grown with time, recognition that Reyes even existed has faded with time.

Well, now Reyes is back in the news, for all the wrong reasons. As outlined in this terrific profile piece from the Associated Press, the former catcher was arrested four days before Christmas after the moving truck he was driving slid off a New Mexico freeway, spilling his load of furniture and a cool $450,000 worth of marijuana bundled in cellophane.

Naturally, there's more to the story than meets the eye. Reyes has proclaimed his innocence since the moment he was arrested, insisting that he only agreed to transport furniture from Denver to Mexico for a fee of $1,000. He spent a whopping 15 months behind prison bars because he refused to enter a plea agreement because it would sully his reputation, and he was only released when the charges against him were dropped ... because his short-term U.S. visa had already expired.

Now Reyes is sitting in an immigration holding cell, locked up behind bars in El Paso while he waits to be shipped back to the Dominican Republic. It's a sad end to an American story that never followed the Hollywood script it seemed destined for when Reyes landed a job as Mike Scoscia's backup in Los Angeles.

"I'm an easy guy, a softhearted guy," Reyes said, wiping off a tear. "I have been praying to the Lord for mercy. I know everything will come to an end. My mother always said God never gives you more than you can handle. ... The only mistake I made was trusting that guy. I knew him for many months. I didn't know what a drug dealer looked like, but I didn't think he was one of them."

By Cameron Smith  |  April 13, 2009; 4:57 PM ET
Categories:  Dodgers  
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