Fausto Carmona, Roberto Hernandez Heredia

The former Fausto Carmona: “in truth there is triumph”

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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.

James McCann is in The Best Shape of His Life

Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann blows a bubble while warming up during a spring training baseball workout, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, in Lakeland, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
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As I note every spring, “Best Shape of His Life” stories aren’t really about players being in The Best Shape of Their Lives. They’re about players and agents seeking to create positive stories.

We know this because the vast majority of Best Shape of His Life claims are about guys who were either injured the season before, guys who had subpar years the season before or players whose conditioning was a point of controversy the season before. These folks, or their agents + reporters who have little if nothing to write about in the offseason = BSOHL.

James McCann hurt his ankle last season and had a subpar year at the plate. So not only is he a perfect BSOHL candidate, he went old school with the claim and hit it right on the money, verbatim:

Spring training is less than a month away, folks!

Bo Jackson is not gonna change kids’ minds

1989:  Bo Jackson #16 of the Kansas City Royals practices his swing as he prepares to bat during a game in the 1989 season.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Last week Bo Jackson said that, if he had it to do all over again, he would have never played professional football and that he would never let his kids play. The sport is too violent, he said. “I’d tell them, ‘Play baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, just anything but football.’”

Fair enough. Thom Loverro of the Washington Times, however, thinks that Bo could do more than simply give his opinion on the matter. He thinks Bo should become an official ambassador for Major League Baseball:

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, pick up the phone right now and call Bo Jackson. Tell him you have a job for him — vice president of something, whatever you would call the man in charge of converting a generation of young athletes to baseball. And pay him what he wants.

You won’t find a better symbol of the differences between the two sports than Bo Jackson. After all, he was an All-Star in both. Bo knows football. Bo knows baseball.

Bo, tell the children — baseball over football.

The Children: “Who is Bo Jackson?”

Yeah, I’m being a bit flip here, but dude: Jackson is 54 years-old. He last played baseball 23 years ago. I’d personally run through a wall for Bo Jackson, but I’m 43. I was 12 when he won the Heisman trophy. While he may loom large to middle aged sports writers, a teenager contemplating what sport to play is not going to listen to someone a decade or more older than his parents.

This isn’t terribly important in the grand scheme of things, but it’s indicative of how most columnists process the world through their own experiences and assume they apply universally. It’s probably the biggest trap most sports opinion folks fall into.