Global Baseball

One man\’s year-long journey through the world of baseball

On Age-Gate

This is a direct response to a question I received in the comments section of my post on Arismendy Arias, and I figured it was worth its own post.

Reader Bill asks: “Do you know anything about Fernando Martinez’s age? There are rumors swirling about his real age. Can you find a definitive answer?

There are several rumors I’m hearing swirling around Martinez, from age to potential steroid use that caused 2 Dominican Mets’ scouts to lose their jobs, but nobody will confirm or deny anything. It’s worth pointing out that anytime a Dominican kid comes to the states and succeeds immediately at the age of 17, someone is going to float an age-related rumor. That being said, document falsification is very, very easy. and there’s a huge financial incentive to take advantage of it.

Easy + profitable = well, you do the math.

Of this year’s top international signings, I’ve heard age-related rumors (and reports of teams scaling down bonuses for undisclosed reasons) about pretty much everyone except Carlos Triunfel and Angel Beltre. With a guy like Angel Villalona, people are going to question his age just because of his size. (Then again, Villalona’s the kind of talent that pretty much makes age irrelevent) There’s a lot of “this kid’s cousin who knows a guy who trains with X in La Romana…” information floating around the DR for anyone interested in rumor-mongering to scoop up.
Unless the DR makes huge economic strides in the next decade and follows them up with substantial improvements to government infrastructure, age-gate and resulting rumors will never go away. Teams pay money to investigate players, but in a poor country, a lot of those guys can be bribed, and in general, it’s easy to find ways to sneak guys through.

There’s definitely a multimillion dollar “Juiced”-style book deal waiting for the first retired Latin American player to come forward, admit to falsifying papers, and write all the rumors down for hungry fans to devour. Hey, maybe I should pitch that to somebody and offer my services as a ghostwriter!

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February 5, 2007 Posted by | Age-Gate, Dominican Baseball, Signing Period | 5 Comments