OK. Tejada fudged his age. So what?
Miguel Tejada lied about his age ever since he was signed by the Oakland A’s back in 1993, when he was signed by then scout and current Dominican Sports Minister, Hall of Famer Juan Marichal.
So Tejada wasn’t really born on May 25, 1976, as originally stated even on the Astros media guide, but two years before, in 1974. That means Tejada will turn 34 next month.
Has Tejada something to be ashamed of? Not really. It’s true that he wasn’t a hundred percent truthful when he turned in his data, and it’s totally true that he is not the first nor will be the last Latin ballplayer to do something like that.
José de Jesús Ortiz just stated in his blog something I will have to repeat. You have to go to our countries, see the poverty and misery these kids grow up with. They play with balls made of cardboard and duct tape, and hit it with broomsticks turned into bats. As a matter of fact, Tejada’s story is quite well documented and you can look it up.
You try to picture yourself with that choice, of a ticket on your way out of that misery and few opportunities, and into a life of glory and economical stability. Then you’ll realize fudging about your age is not such a bad thing after all. Our Latin baseball history is full of similar cases. Even cases of players who were thought of being born on a different month just because in the Spanish Language when stating a date the structure is of day/month/year, instead of month/day/year as used in the English language.
Tejada himself would have been the one confessing the truth to Houston GM Ed Wade, when he realized a new era was about to start with the Astros, and we can only applaud him for that. I don’t want to sound like singing Tejada’s praises one note too many, but if there’s a baseball player loved in the Dominican Republic because of his actions, is precisely the shortstop born in Baní. He has turned the blessings he has received through baseball into huge sums of charity work. He has never stopped playing in his country. He has not forgotten his humble beginnings.
So don’t think Tejada is looking for your compassion by excusing his age fudging with his story of poverty. Because it’s the whole truth. And there’s nothing else to it.
PS: Wow. Wikipedia is fast.