Your humble correspondent would like to share the happy news that he celebrated his birthday yesterday. Lately, this has been a less than joyous event since the impending celebration of an age with zero as its second digit has been little more welcome than a late inning managerial visit to the pitcher’s mound. Reading the latest articles about the Washington Nationals’ Prospect E$maiyln Gonzalez, I have realized how wrong-headed it was for me to fear the years ahead. I have no need of a red sports car or a younger girlfriend to replace my non-existent spouse. Why should I be concerned about the beginning of life’s journey? Apparently, I can even anticipate a hefty signing bonus in my future.
Let the record show, and I am more than willing to produce the requisite documents, that my foray into adulthood has only just begun. Eighteen years of age feels pretty good to these erstwhile tired old bones. No doubt my readership will join me in celebrating the news, and also the revelation that appearances to the contrary, I actually grew up in the Dominican Republic. There are those naysayers who will point to earlier posts in this very forum and question these assertions. The doubting Frank Thomas’s might have access to official records such as a “birth certificate” or a “passport” indicating that I have falsified my age by twenty years, give or take a week. To them, I say that it is a sad reflection on our society when an eighteen year old kid such as myself cannot get a fair shake in the minor leagues just because what hair he has left atop his pate is sprinkled with grey. Has our consumer culture rendered us so shallow that we automatically judge people on appearance, paying no heed to character and personality? I am aghast that my integrity would be impugned in this manner.
Having said as much, good readers, my detractors have some grounds for complaint. The time has come for me to own up. The truth of the matter is that I have not been entirely forthright with you. My columns about a childhood spent in Alaska and the importance of 1977 Topps baseball cards, all of them were fabrications. I apologize for the fraud, it was a fantasy that I concocted to insulate myself from the rough and tumble adolescence of a Caribbean baseball prospect. I would not want these youthful errors to impede my progress with the Washington Nationals minor league system, nor would I want them to affect the $1.4 million signing bonus that has been dangled in front of my cherubic fingers by the esteemed Mr. Bowdown, pardon me, my English is still improving, Mr. Bowout, sorry, I mean Mr. Bowden. Let’s give the man some credit, you cannot help but admire his ability to spot my obvious talents, and even the most near-sighted scout could discern the linguistic plate discipline displayed in that last at-bat: two called strikes ignored followed by a safe hit. Faced with such prima facie evidence of my burgeoning talents, and at so young an age, is there any question as to whether or not the Nationals General Manager deserves the same executive retention bonus that has been awarded to the talented players of the Wall Street Leagues?
From where I stand, the answer is as obvious as the candles on my cake, yesterday, before I ate it.