FanDuel - WFBC

April 17, 2008

Tejada tells team hes 33, instead of 31.: Houston Astros shortstop Miguel Tejada told the team hes actually 33, two years older than hes listed in the clubs media guide and other baseball records after being shown a copy of his birth certificate by ESPN.

posted by BoKnows to baseball at 10:44 PM - 28 comments

I was there for the Phillies-Astros game and my Phil's kicked their ass. Tejada looked about 12 years old (just glad we won 10-2). That said, that is bullshit!! Ask Danny Amonte about lying about birth certificates.

posted by GoBirds at 11:28 PM on April 17

Nice apology - "I never meant to do anything wrong". So the lie wasn't to gain an undeserved advantage?

posted by whitedog65 at 11:45 PM on April 17

There will probably be people unhappy about this but the truth of the matter is, this happens. Not saying that this is right but baseball is truly a way out for a lot of people living in the Dominican Republic. In DR, people are very poor and if they're talented enough to play ball, there will be someone out there that will help them with their dream but at an expense. It looks good to have a player that is very young so that the team that picks him up can have him around for a few years. The problem with this is if the team decides to sign the player to a long term deal, he might be a past his prime mid-way thru the contract and the team is stuck with an aging player instead.

posted by BornIcon at 06:47 AM on April 18

...?

posted by jerseygirl at 07:49 AM on April 18

That's been a great trade for Houston.

posted by yerfatma at 08:45 AM on April 18

The more I learn about some of these athletes, the more I wish I hadn't learned about some of these athletes.

posted by dyams at 09:00 AM on April 18

That's been a great trade for Houston. Well, they only have to pay him for two more years under the FA deal he signed with Baltimore. I think the projections obviously change for him a bit between what he might be anticipated to do (and his likelihood of being injured, etc.) as a 34 and 35 year old vs. a 32 and 33 year old, but it's not like they were getting any kind of commitment from him, or were obligated to him, beyond 2009 in any event. They just likely get slightly lower performance from him for those two years. I do think that when these types of things come out, that the teams should have the option to void the player's contract. I think they would under normal contract law, but I'm not sure what they can do under the collective bargaining agreement.

posted by holden at 09:54 AM on April 18

I do think that when these types of things come out, that the teams should have the option to void the player's contract. I think they would under normal contract law, but I'm not sure what they can do under the collective bargaining agreement. After a full helping of Judge Mathis, I was thinking much the same, holden. I think it would be fair to the team if, lets say, a player signs a 4 year deal at 30 years old. Then after the player would admit to being 32, the team could re-negotiate 2 years of the contract. That way, at the end of the revised contract, the team would be left with a 34 year old, as they originally expected.

posted by BoKnows at 10:35 AM on April 18

i thought ESPN calling him out on camera during an interview was a pretty low blow.

posted by gnutron at 12:55 PM on April 18

If I step back for a moment on this and reflect with a bit of objectivity, I have a difficult time getting indignant about this heinious outrage. Lying is wrong, certainly. But it's a two year difference that he lied about 14 years ago. On the bad advice of a coach. So that he could hopefully get to the U.S. and play baseball and make a lot of money. Maybe part of his motivation was to get rich and help out his family. I don't know who the victim is here. Dragging him through the dirt seems a bit extreme. I think apologizing should suffice. Is ESPN so bored that it feels it necessary to create a scandalous situation out of something that is a non-event? ( I even separated it from the rest of my comment to make it easier)

posted by THX-1138 at 01:19 PM on April 18

Well, I wrote about this on Metafilter when it was posted there; my take (not being a Tejada fan, to be sure- his inanity about Derek Lowe after losing to the Red Sox in the playoffs a few years' back was a sign of his true colors) is that as BoKnows and holden say, the teams should be free to void or otherwise legally contest the contract. Yes, it's one thing to say that as a poor DR kid at 19, looking for a way out of the slums, lying is probably "okay" even though the scouting, evaluation, and projections of a player at 19 are considerably different than at 21- if he'd been a bonus baby bust, would we feel the same way? He worked out okay, so it's suddenly "fair"? Maybe, maybe. But once he was wearing an everyday major league uniform, once he'd 'made it', he had a legal and ethical obligation to drop the ruse. Given the way players typically drop off steadily after they hit their peak, for both Baltimore and Houston signing big deals/making trades to acquire Tejada with the presumption that he was on the tail end of his peak as opposed to likely past it is not insignificant. If- and it's a big if, since every player is an individual, and you can have guys like Ted Williams' hitting .380 when they're nearly 40- Tejada shows the same drop off over time as most players will, then the difference between what Houston might have thought they were getting at age 32 and 33 versus 34 and 35 could easily be 25 points of batting average. I'd say Houston has legitimate reason to contest the contract altogether, if in fact he has an off-season; granted, it sounds like all his actual legal papers with the government listed his true birthday, so I don't know how even basic sleuthing wouldn't have uncovered this, but... there it is.

posted by hincandenza at 03:01 PM on April 18

i thought ESPN calling him out on camera during an interview was a pretty low blow. Don't you ask pertinent questions during an interview? Was that an un-expected topic? I think it was pretty low to duck the question and leave in the middle of the interview.

posted by irunfromclones at 03:17 PM on April 18

Even though it is subscriber-only content, the "free portion" of this Baseball Prospectus article shows the difference between Tejada's projections before and after his "age change." Not a huge difference in year 1, but a fairly big difference in year 2 (the last year of his current deal with Houston), in terms of both a decline on his "triple slash" stats and projected playing time (health).

posted by holden at 03:39 PM on April 18

Don't you ask pertinent questions during an interview? Was that an un-expected topic? Absolutely, it was an unexpected topic. E:60 briefed him on what was going to be asked and discussed (and obviously didn't bring up his age), then pulls that shit. I think it was a legitimate issue, handled badly by ESPN.

posted by smithnyiu at 04:46 PM on April 18

I agree with smithnyiu. The way you play this as a respectable news organization is by putting in a call to Tejada or his publicist/agent and saying, "We're going to run a story that you are actually two years older than originally believed. Do you care to comment?" You do not do it on camera or try to play "gotcha," which is the tactic of sleazy news magazine programs, local news "investigators" ("Hank investigates!"), Tim Russert, Jerry Springer, and other less respectable outlets. The fact that they asked him his age at the outset (when it's quite clear that his avowed age for the past 15 or so years has been the 1976 date) is just clearly setting him up to look like a bald-faced liar and making the whole thing look that much more dramatic -- "You clearly said earlier in the program that you were born in 1976, but as this [whipping out birth certificate dramatically] document shows, you were born in [AUDIBLE GASP] . . . 1974!!!"

posted by holden at 05:12 PM on April 18

But wasn't he a bald faced liar for hiding his age all these years? I'd certainly call you out if you worked for me and I found out you lied on your resume. It's OK for Tejada to lie, but it's dishonest to have someone question him about it? I can't imagine that after he dropped that news he would just think it was no longer up for discussion.

posted by irunfromclones at 06:56 PM on April 18

I guess it's possible that Tejada put this behind him a long time ago. After 15 years, isn't it reasonable to think that he forgot? Or even started to believe it himself?

posted by BoKnows at 07:11 PM on April 18

Thanks holden, for saying that better than I could. It's certainly an issue, but there's respectable and honest way to approach this story...not resorting to shock "investigative" journalism tactics.

posted by gnutron at 08:21 PM on April 18

But wasn't he a bald faced liar for hiding his age all these years? I'd certainly call you out if you worked for me and I found out you lied on your resume. It's OK for Tejada to lie, but it's dishonest to have someone question him about it? I can't imagine that after he dropped that news he would just think it was no longer up for discussion. irunfromclones -- I have no issue with ESPN calling him on it or outing his true age. Like gnutron, I just disagree with the tactics (which neither I nor anyone else characterized as being dishonest -- I would say it was a dishonorable, though). There was no need to ambush him in an on-camera interview.

posted by holden at 09:10 PM on April 18

I think Migi T has a good point when he says the steroids really do make you 2 to 3 years younger

posted by fartman at 05:54 AM on April 19

respectable news organization There's an oxymoron for you. I will say that if ESPN could dig up Tejada's birth certificate, why could not the team that signed him to a big contract and the team that accepted him at face value in a trade? It sounds like someone did not do his homework here, so there should be no recourse. Caveat emptor.

posted by Howard_T at 12:54 PM on April 19

...clearly setting him up to look like a bald-faced liar.. Not to nit-pick but isn't it bold-faced liar?

posted by BornIcon at 08:44 AM on April 21

...clearly setting him up to look like a bald-faced liar.. Not to nit-pick but isn't it bold-faced liar? Well, he's 33 (not 31) and he's been wearing a baseball hat for most of his career. I've seen what the does to players' hair. It's quite possible he is BECOMING a bald-faced liar.

posted by grum@work at 11:37 AM on April 21

To lie is wrong (right Hillary?). To do it clean-shaven is just plain sick.

posted by smithnyiu at 12:42 PM on April 21

So...since you put it like that, wouldn't that mean that he's becoming a bald-headed liar? I have a lot of friends from the Dominican Republic and the majority of Dominicans have a healthy head of hair. Must be the Panteen Pro V.

posted by BornIcon at 12:42 PM on April 21

...clearly setting him up to look like a bald-faced liar.. Not to nit-pick but isn't it bold-faced liar? The original phrase was "bold-faced liar", but "bald-faced liar" has come into common usage and the two phrases are considered interchangeable. My personal opinon on this matter (bold-faced vs. bald-faced) is I could care less, or maybe I couldn't care less. One of those anyway.

posted by tommytrump at 02:07 PM on April 21

The original phrase was "bold-faced liar", but "bald-faced liar" has come into common usage Not to nit-pick, but isn't the present tense a little misleading when discussing the mid-Seventeenth Century?

posted by yerfatma at 02:18 PM on April 21

This article discusses the non-baseball legal issues in this case: he must have also lied to US Immigration, for example, and in court testimony he may have sworn to his wrong age. Personally I think its a non-issue but legally it does sound like he might be crucifiable....

posted by rumple at 02:47 PM on April 22

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