The name was a clue

The story of Roberto Hernandez, who for more than a decade was known as “Fausto Carmona,” is more interesting to me this evening than the Ryan Braun story. Today’s ruling has declawed the testing procedure, and means that the juice will probably be coming back to baseball. Is somebody now going to hit 60 home runs this season? I wouldn’t bet against it.

But back to “Carmona” for a moment. The Indians may or may not have him back this season, but the revelation that Hernandez is actually three years older than “Carmona” was thought to be can’t be welcome news in Cleveland. I’d say this season, if he pitches, will be Hernandez’ last one with the Tribe, since the team has options on him for 2013 and 2014. Think of the upcoming season as his going away tour, two seasons before he would have liked it to occur.

I took out a pen and indicated on the back of the above card that “Fausto Carmona” is really just an imaginary construct. The card was a lie, just like Hernandez’ entire life has been since about 1990. The Faustian bargain that Hernandez made was designed to acquire the most valuable currency that any player has–time. Three extra years in a baseball career could have meant millions of extra dollars in “Carmona’s” pocket. Millions more than he has already made, that is.

Similar questions about Albert Pujols’ age have also been raised by some, and they will only intensify in the wake of the “Carmona” revelation. The Onion-style parody Cubs newspaper The Heckler also got into the act on Alfonso Soriano, in a light-hearted way. But the truth of the matter is that identities can be created to hide a player’s real age, and the incentives for doing so–millions and millions of dollars’ worth of incentives–virtually guarantee that this will continue to go on in the future. And “Carmona” just proves–whether we wanted to admit this or not–that it has been going on for some time already.

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