With his slightly rotund figure and an Afro mushrooming out from under his cap, Renyel Pinto is one of the more conspicuous members in the Florida Marlins' bullpen. He had a career year this season, sporting a very impressive 3.23 ERA in 73 appearances.
But outside LandShark Stadium, the 27-year-old Venezuelan middle reliever has been a master of evasion. This past May 30, he was tooling his pimped-out white Infiniti SUV through Hallandale Beach when cops pulled him over and discovered he didn't have a valid driver's license. He was ordered to appear in Broward County court June 16.
Our hero must have assumed the police were talking about some other Renyel Pinto, one who doesn't earn a presidential salary by putting on a jockstrap and flip-shades six months out of the year. He didn't show for the court date. His driving privileges were suspended, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. He'll face a $2,000 bond when he's nabbed.
But that's just how Pinto rolls, bro — as his scorned business manager can attest. According to a lawsuit filed September 4 in Miami-Dade civil court, the pitcher breached his contract with Pro-Management Resources Inc. when he "failed to pay" a 1.5 percent cut of his $400,000 2009 salary. That comes to $6,000 — a figure your average big-leaguer might spend on rims for his Hummer golf cart.
Tony Chirlcosta, CEO of the Coral Springs-based management company, told Riptide he "[didn't] want to comment on pending litigation."
On September 12, the morning before he pitched a scoreless inning against the Washington Nationals, Pinto was served with papers at his luxury condo in Hallandale Beach.
Brace yourself: He didn't respond to the suit. On October 23, Pro-Management was awarded a default judgment for the entire six grand. But by then, Pinto was presumably already wherever it is ballplayers go in the off-season — some tacky Shangri-la where every blonde is platinum and Affliction T-shirts sprout from the soil.
Riptide had no luck tracking him down for comment, and he ignored emails sent to his personal account. So we were forced to stalk him via Facebook, where his profile photo shows him wearing an enormous platinum watch on his left wrist while flipping the double bird at the camera.
But maybe Pinto really doesn't need a business manager. He was smart enough, after all, to deny our Facebook friend request.