There appeared to be some good news for the men formerly known as Fausto Carmona and Leo Nunez earlier this week, as Dominican Today quoted William Weissman, consul general for the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic, as saying the U.S. State Department could pardon Dominican baseball players caught with a false identity.
While many ran away with that one part of his statement, Weissman also said that he wasn’t speaking in reference to any particular case and indicated that players who turn themselves in should be treated differently. Still, with plenty of misinformation flying around, the U.S. Consulate has since clarified Weissman’s comments.
According to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the U.S. Consulate said in a series of Tweets that the main point Weissman was trying to make was that all cases are dealt with individually and that the consequences of fraud include ineligibility to enter the United States for life.
Carmona (whose real name is Roberto Hernandez Heredia) was caught while trying to apply for a travel visa last month while Nunez (now known as Juan Carlos Oviedo) turned himself in last September, but they are both currently cooperating with the U.S. government. However, it’s not yet known if they’ll be granted visas in time for spring training or the start of the season. And even if they are eventually granted entry into the United States, it’s possible they could face punishment from MLB.
1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion signed a three-year, $60 million contract with the Indians early last month. The 34-year-old had spent the last seven and a half seasons with the Blue Jays, but his future elsewhere appeared to be written on the wall when the Jays signed Kendrys Morales in November to essentially occupy Encarnacion’s role.
Encarnacion spoke about testing free agency for the first time in his career and the situation that led to him leaving Toronto for Cleveland. Via Jorge L. Ortiz of USA TODAY:
“Toronto was always my first option, but I had never been a free agent, and anybody who gets to free agency wants to find out what’s out there,’’ he said. “I think they got too hasty in making their decision, but now I’m with Cleveland and I’m happy to be here.’’
Encarnacion last season hit .263/.357/.529 with 42 home runs and an AL-best 127 RBI. He’s now on the team that defeated his Blue Jays in the ALCS to advance to the World Series. Encarnacion effectively replaces Mike Napoli, who returned to the Rangers.
I’m on record saying that Sammy Sosa has been rather hosed by baseball history.
The guy did amazing things. Unheard-of things. He was truly astounding at this peak and was incredibly important to both his franchise and Major League Baseball as a whole. His repayment: he’s a pariah. His club won’t claim him and his greatness, by any measure, has not just been overlooked but denied by most who even bother to consider him.
Yes, he had PED associations, but they were extraordinarily vague ones. He’s in the same boat as David Ortiz as far as documented PED evidence against him, but Ortiz will be a first ballot Hall of Famer while Sosa barely clings to the ballot. He hit homers at the same cartoonish rate as Mark McGwire, but while Big Mac has been embraced by baseball and has coached for years, Sosa can’t get into Wrigley Field unless he buys a ticket and even then the Cubs might try to hustle him out of sight. The man has been treated poorly by any measure.
Yet, it’s still possible to overstate the case. Like Sosa did in this interview with Chuck Wasserstrom:
It’s like Jesus Christ when he came to Jerusalem,” Sosa told chuckbloggerstrom.com. “Everybody thought Jesus Christ was a witch (laughing) — and he was our savior. So if they talk (bleep) about Jesus Christ, what about me? Are you kidding me?”
At least he was basically joking about it. Still, it’s a totally unfair and almost offensive comparison.
I mean, anyone who watched Sosa’s career knows that he had trouble laying off breaking stuff low and away. In contrast . . .