Editorial Note: The following is from friend of the blog and baseball smarty pants Jon Hale, who writes this column in response to yesterday’s news of Fausto Carmona’s arrest in the Dominican Republic for false identity. It ends up that the 28 year old Carmona is actually 31 year old Roberto Hernandez Heredia.
In a shocking twist for Red Sox nation, it was revealed today that Dominican slugger David Ortiz is, in fact, David Ortiz. Even more surprisingly, although he is currently listed as being 36 years old, that is indeed the case.
“We were completely blindsided by this one,” said Sox GM Ben Cherington. “It certainly puts his career in a new light. We just assumed when he started hitting home runs like crazy at age 27 that he was experiencing a typical slugger’s early-thirties power surge. Now we don’t know what to believe.”
A tearful Ortiz addressed his fans, explaining that when he was 16, he traded birth certificates with a younger player, as officially required in the Dominican Republic. However, the certificates were then accidentally switched back on the eve of a major tryout. By the time the error had been realized, it was too late: Ortiz had put on a show at the tryout and been signed under his own name.
“Things just got out of hand,” said Ortiz. “I always wanted to tell someone, but once I got my first contract, it was too late. I never meant to hurt nobody. I just wanted to play baseball so bad that I was willing to do anything, even if it meant doing something that deep down I knew was right.”
Former friends and teammates of Ortiz pledged to support Big Papi, but admitted that they were hurt to discover that the man they had known for so long was exactly who he claimed to be. “I always used to give him a big wink after I said his name, and he’d flash me a guilty smile,” said Manny Ramirez, 39 (Tony Valdez, 51). “Now I realize that it was all was just a pack of truths. It’s going to take some time.”
According to Cherington, extension talks with Ortiz have now been put on hold. “If he’s 38-39, then his resurgence last year is a lot more impressive. We’re looking at a true hall-of-famer there, one who is still able to slug way far past his physical prime. This new information makes him look a lot more run-of-the-mill. And we’re completely powerless to investigate, of course. It’s not like as a multi-million dollar organization with an extensive scouting network we might have any way of tracking down a birth certificate before making a gigantic investment in a player. Only journalists and third-world customs officials can do that.”
You can read more from Jon Hale at The Mockingbird.