When Stars Want Cars, They Call Miami’s Alex Vega
One of baseball’s shortest, fiercest, most expensive competitions began with a little eavesdropping.
It was a March morning in 2014, in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ spring training clubhouse, and Juan Uribe was giddy. He spoke openly on the phone with his car guy about purchasing a $250,000 Ferrari 458 Italia and customizing it in a way that would make him the envy of the players’ parking lot.
Hanley Ramirez, conveniently within earshot, wouldn’t stand for it.
He quickly hopped on his phone and purchased the same model, in white, and added a new body kit, wheels, sound system and seats. The Ferrari was finished — and on Instagram — before Ramirez’s teammate and countryman could finalize plans for his own.
Uribe was enraged and inconsolable. This was what he feared when he first introduced Ramirez to a man named Alex Vega, who customizes cars for nearly 300 professional baseball players. Ramirez always had the best, most expensive and distinctive automobiles when he played for the Miami Marlins. But then he was dealt to the Dodgers in the summer of 2012 and found a worthy adversary in Uribe.
“Hanley keeps bothering me about meeting you,” Uribe told Vega one day. “Please, just don’t do his cars like you do mine.”