Friday, January 20, 2012

People I Feel Bad For



Fausto Carmona got arrested in the Dominican Republic for not being Fausto Carmona. Fausto Carmona is Roberto Hernandez Heredia. He apparently faked a birth certificate that said he was three years younger than he actually is, and then came to the United States because he can throw a baseball upwards of 90 MPH.

This isn't the first time we've seen this in Major League baseball. Any casual fan can tell you that many players from the Dominican Republic have lied about their ages and names in order to obtain a visa to come to the United States. Rafael Furcal was supposed to be the first Major Leaguer born in the 1980s. Turns out he was born in 1977. But he runs really really fast. Vladimir Guerrero was born in 1975, but it wasn't always that way. He used to have been born in 1976. But when he hits or throws a ball, it goes really far. Miguel Tejada born in 1976 turned out to be Miguel Tejeda born in 1974. But when a ball is hit within a 4-mile radius of him, he scoops it up and throws out the runner at first.

These people are liars. They lied about who they are in order to get ahead in life. They looked people square in the face and said that they were younger than they really were, that they were other people entirely. And I don't blame them for one second.

Let's say that young Roberto Hernandez Heredia were born not in Santo Domingo but in Santa Barbara, California. Roberto would have played Little League, gone through high school baseball, and would have shown an incredible talent for the sport. He would have been drafted by a Major League team, risen through the ranks, made it to the Big Show because he's really really good at baseball, and made millions and millions and millions of dollars. Case closed.

Now let's say that Roberto Hernandez Heredia were born in Santo Domingo. He shows promise as a young baseball player, and he knows that baseball is his ticket out of a life of sleeping on a dirt floor and a career as a hotel worker for American tourists. For whatever reason, however, his only way out is to fake his identity. He realizes that he must become a man named Fausto Carmona, and it would also behoove him to say that he is younger than he actually is. He knows someone who can fake his birth certificate so he can obtain an American visa, his ticket out of the DR and to success as a baseball player. He chooses not to take this opportunity, to instead serve drinks to rich Americans at a fancy resort, and to go to his impoverished existence every night for the rest of his life. Every winter he would dominate the Dominican league, playing with guys like Rafael Furcal who got out but still come home to play every winter.

Roberto Hernandez Heredia did exactly what he should've done. He wasn't lucky enough to have been born in Santa Barbara, California. He was born in Santo Domingo. There's no way an American person as talented as Fausto Carmona would go unnoticed. It is almost certain that he would reach his potential if he were born in the United States. But he didn't have that advantage. Fake an identity, or serve drinks to rich Americans. Use his talent to make a good living, or dominate the Dominican league for no money and live in poverty. Like Jimmy Cliff said, you gotta use what you got to get what you need. That's what Roberto Hernandez Heredia did, and it was absolutely the right thing to do. And I'm going to root for anyone who can escape a life of poverty and carrying luggage for white assholes.

In the grand scheme of things, I don't care that the Indians were duped into thinking he was 28 when he was really 31 (or more accurately, thinking he was 17 when he was really 20). It's not like the Indians have no idea about what goes on with guys from the DR. When scouts scout a Dominican player, I think they just add two years to his professed age. That's what they should do, anyway. Don't take these guys at their word; they lie all the time about their age. In the grand scheme of things, what I do care about is a guy getting out of poverty and making a great life for himself doing what he's good at doing. Robert Hernandez Heredia would have been stupid for not becoming Fausto Carmona.

I'm pissed that he got caught and I hope this whole thing blows over.

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