Roberto Hernandez — the real name of the man we know as Fausto Carmona — used a fake identity, got a nice bonus out of it and made it to the majors on the strength of his advancement at a certain, presumed age. But he wants kids in the Dominican Republic to know that it’s wrong to lie about one’s identity:
Roberto Hernandez Heredia, the pitcher Indians fans knew as Fausto Carmona, is telling young baseball players in the Dominican Republic to tell the truth about their age and identity.
Hernandez has been visiting independent baseball camps on the island since Feb. 7. After he speaks, he hands out T-shirts to the players. On the front is printed this message in Spanish: “In Truth, There is Triumph.” Hernandez’s name is on the back with his number (55).
I hate to be so damn cynical about it, but the shirts might also read “in truth there is a much lower bonus and a ticket to being organizational depth.” Because, look, what Hernandez did was against the law and dishonest, but it also worked out way better for him than the truth would have. And it’s that inefficiency in the system which should be addressed.
As per tradition, towards the end of the regular season, veterans on baseball’s various clubs haze the rookies by making them dress up and do something a bit embarrassing. That used to include things like making rookies dress up like women and carry pink backpacks, but Major League Baseball banned that practice, so veterans had to get marginally more creative.
The Phillies had their rookies — including Rhys Hoskins, J.P. Crawford, and Nick Williams — dress up like characters in Grease and perform “Greased Lightning” at their hotel in Atlanta on Friday night. Not only did the Phils’ vets and other members of the crew get a free show, but so did employees of the hotel and nearby hotel patrons.
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As MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki explains, Hoskins was the inspiration for the gag as he has earned the nickname “Rhys Lightning.” (Rhys, for the uninitiated, rhymes with “Grease.”) Hoskins said, “You always hear about team chemistry. I think stuff like that let’s you get to know guys on a different level, when you’re not at the field. You just become more personable with people. The better relationships you have, there’s a different level of playing for each other. And I think that’s usually a sign of a good team.”
The Twins also had some fun at the rookies’ expense:
Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge went yard twice in Sunday afternoon’s 9-5 loss to the Blue Jays, bringing his season total up to 48. That leaves him just one home run shy of tying the single-season rookie record set by Mark McGwire with the Athletics in 1987.
After Sunday’s performance, Judge is hitting .281/.416/.610 with 48 home runs, 105 RBI, and 122 runs scored in 651 plate appearances. He has the AL Rookie of the Year Award on lock and is neck-and-neck with the Astros’ Jose Altuve, Chris Sale of the Red Sox, and the Indians’ Corey Kluber in the AL MVP Award race.