03/30/2002 4:02 pm ET
Police seek fans help in Delgado case
By Lloyd Upshaw / Special to MLB.com
DUNEDIN, Fla.-- Police in Dade County Florida are seeking the help of Toronto Blue Jays fans in locating Carlos Delgado's shoes.
The shoes were taken from Delgado's feet during a recent spring training game, and have not been seen since. Police completed a full sweep of the Blue Jays Spring Training facility, including the diamond, the clubhouse and the parking lot and were unable to find any sign of the shoes, but what they did find could shock the entire Blue Jays organization.
"At first we thought it was just a piece of paper, maybe some garbage that had blown over from the Detroit Tigers field," reported Dade County Sheriff Moseby. "But upon further inspection we realized that it was in fact a ransom note for the missing shoes."
The contents of the note were brief and to the point. It read as follows:
To All Toronto Blue Jays Fans,
If you ever want Delgado to see his lucky shoes again then you had better be watching closely in the next week leading up to and including the home opener weekend at the Skydome April 4th to the 7th
The only chance you have to learn our identity is to follow the clues we drop on the Blue Jays web site, and the only chance you have of getting the shoes back for Carlos is to be at the games against the Minnesota Twins that weekend.
See You Suckers Later!
The purpose of the note is clear, but the identity of who wrote it is not. That may soon change as the police are releasing a photo for the first time of the crime being committed. The photo is a still frame from the dugout security camera and seems to depict two suspicious persons in the act of removing Delgado's shoes. The police have no leads as to who these two are, and are looking to Blue Jays fans for help.
"What we do know about these suspects is that they are scum," Blue Jays manager Buck Martinez was quick to note. "Everyone knows how much those shoes meant to Carlos and this entire ball club. We just can't stand for this as a team, an organization and as a city."
Still noticeably shaken by the events of the past 48 hours Delgado made a direct appeal to the fans of Toronto.
"Please help me to find my lucky shoes", he said. "They mean everything to me and my feet."
Delgado then paused for 15 minutes to collect himself then asked reporters to allow him another day before he issues another statement.
Clearly something must be done immediately. The future of the Blue Jays may hang in the balance. Certainly the emotion that has been shown by Toronto's all-star first basemen shows the absolute importance of these shoes to his baseball future. Stay posted to this web site for more pressing details and clues as they unfold.
Lloyd Upshaw is a special correspondent for the Toronto Blue Jays.