What happened to all that missing baseball equipment?

Some of the baseball equipment got where it was going

It is important that the reader of this article understand that I write this not as a Director of Nicaragua Baseball Academy but as an individual interested in hopefully making a small difference in the lives of young Nicaraguans. I served as the facilitator of a project that brought approximately 20,000 lbs. of used baseball equipment to Nicaragua. Steve Pinder, Julie B and Roberto’s Kids are only a few of the people and organizations that made this possible.

And now my story. After many months of coordination and communication approximately 20,000 lbs of equipment arrived in Managua late last year. It was initially inventoried by Nicaraguan Customs and then transported to the Nicaragua Sports Institute(IND).

Throughn an itermediary I was told that Marlon Torres the head of IND agreed that we could distribute the equipment as we best thought appropriate. However Carlos Reyes, the head of Baseball for IND, insisted that everything be re-inventoried once in Managua. Over the next 10-14 days the equipment was re-inventoried five times, and every time they came up with different calculations.

Finally, Carlos Parsons, the representative of IND in the RAAS, allowed me to secure half of the equipment for distribution to the Atlantic Coast, which is the agreement I had with Roberto’s Kids. After a few hiccups, the baseball equipment arrived in Bluesfield. Parsons helped to successfully deliver the equipment to remote communities in in Pearl Lagoon, Kukara Hill, Orinoco, Taspa, and Marshall Point.

Then Parsons and I agreed that he would send the rest of the equipment designated for RAAN by boat to Puerto Cabezas, while I would return to Bluesfield to deliver equipment to Corn Island. While visiting the different communities in RAAS, we told the various baseball coaches we would be holding a tryout in Pearl Lagoon for their most talented players, and I explained that I would take care of all their expenses for the event.

During the time I was on the Atlantic Coast I was told that Reyes felt that IND deserved half of the equipment, which was still being stored at the IND warehouse in Managua. That was basically 25% of the entire donation that we had gathered in the U.S. and shipped down to Nicaragua.

I consented because, quite frankly, I did not feel I had any choice in the matter. Still, I requested that they provide accountability so I would know to whom they were distributing the remainder of the donated baseball equipment.

When I arrived in Puerto Cabezas, things started to go wrong. We were missing four large bags of equipment. Reyes told me the boat did not run between Bluefields and Puerto Cabezas and so I paid for ground transportation between the two cities. I later found out that wasn’t true, the boat in fact had made the trip between the two cities.

The equipment that did arrive was successfully distributed to various communities between Puerto Cabezas to Wawa, and I think everyone was very appreciative of our efforts. But there was now a major irregularity with the inventory of equipment.

When I got back to my home in San Juan del Sur, I tried to contact Parsons regarding the irregularities with the Puerto Cabezas inventory so we could coordinate the delivery of the remaining equipment to Corn Island and schedule the tryout in Pearl Lagoon.

Before I left for Christmas I tried to reach him at least 10 times. After I returned from the holiday, I again texted and called Parsons at least another 10 times. On one occassion he answered my call, then basically hung up on me.

Approximately two weeks ago I contacted Torres and Reyes of IND to explain the situation via email. I told them I wanted to know what happened to the undelivered baseball equipment designated for Corn Island, the four bags designated for RAAN, the status of the tryout in Pearl Lagoon and why Parsons lied to me regarding the transportation of the equipment. I also mentioned but could not confirm that I had heard from a reliable source that Parsons had started a sporting goods store in Bluefields with his nephew.

I was told through an intermediary that Parsons would be responding to my request and questions in the next 72 hours. When I heard nothing back from him, I reached out to IND again but nobody responded.

This series of events has taken my frustrations to a new level and I now feel my best recourse is to make the public aware of the situation. My requests are reasonable and simple. I want Parsons to be accountable for the missing baseball equipment and we want to know why we did not execute on the plan to hold a baseball tryout in Pearl Lagoon.

Also, I want to know why he lied to me about the boatĀ transportation and is it true that he is the co-owner of a sporting goods store (and would I find any of our equipment there). I would also like to know what IND did with their approximate 5000 lbs. of donated baseball equipment. And finally I would like somebody to acknowledge the hard work and time put in by so many people to collect all this baseball equipment. I would like to hear the words THANK YOU from somebody at IND.

Gary Wendt has spent the last 3+ years in Nicaragua promoting the sport of baseball in Nicargua and developing talented young Nicaraguans for Major League Baseball organizations

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