Wednesday, October 04, 2006

El Duque's age

Orlando Hernandez claims to be 36, but he is 5 years older than that. This is a subject of discussion nearly every time he pitches. Roberto González Echevarría says that "there is a good deal of racism involved in harping upon El Duque's age" by baseball fans because "if a player is Latino, any question over his age carries the intimation that there are no reliable birth records in the banana republic he is from".

Well, are there reliable birth records in Hernandez's Cuba? Have Hernandez's been made available to the press? Why is he so coy about his age if 41 is his age?

Fans don't care about Hernandez's age so long as he can do the job. However, it's true that a 41-year-old player is more prone to injury than is a 36-year-old and Hernandez's leg injury yesterday has seriously undermined the Mets' chances this month. It is certainly legitimate to discuss El Duque's age whatever the truth.