Clarifying Pie (updated)
Now that newly acquired outfielder Felix Pie is expected momentarily in camp, it's probably a good time to clear up some misconceptions about his delayed arrival. It apparently was not the result of some kind of screwup by Pie and certainly was not because of any intransigence on the part of Dominican government officials.
Pie, and other foreign players living in their home countries, have to go through the American consulate to get a work visa before every season. It's a fairly routine procedure, but is subject to the fits and starts of government bureaucracy and has become more complicated and time-consuming in the post-9/11 world.
The reason Pie's got hung up: He was traded to the Orioles late in the offseason and had to refile his application because of the change of employer. The government moves at it's own pace, though I wouldn't be surprised if there are times when the process moves faster for the better-known players or if someone influential intervenes on behalf of the applicant. You can visit the U.S. government visa site on the Web to get an official explanation of the process.
Update within an update: Pie has arrived at Fort Lauderdale Stadium and is expected to speak to the media after he undergoes his physical.