Questions about Albert Pujols’s age should hardly be off-limits. With the baseball’s most feared hitter primed to receive perhaps the largest free agent contract in the game’s history, it would behoove any team that is bidding for his services to consider his age. Questions like “How smart would it be to give this player a contract that could pay him $25+ million into his forties?” should weigh heavily on any competent GM’s mind.
A related concern, which has haunted Pujols for much of his career, is that he may be a few years older than he says he is. After all, it is not without precedent for young Latin American players to fudge their DOBs by a few years in order to make themselves more appealing on the US market. Just this September, it was revealed that Marlins reliever Juan Carlos Oviedo (Leo Nunez) had assumed a false identity and is a year older than he had previously claimed. As Edward Mujica explained, just a year can make a world of difference in how much a Latin American player is paid, creating an incentive to fudge:
“At 17 years old, you maybe lose $100,000 or $150,000 when you sign [compared to a 16-year-old with the same skills]. And if you’re like 18, you might sign for $5,000 and maybe they give you an opportunity.”
But as Dave Cameron writes over at Fangraphs, the case for believing that Pujols fudged his age has numerous holes.
Baseball scribe Jon Heyman is having none of it, however. You can count Heyman among the Pujols Birthers:
Below I present Jon Heyman’s twitter timeline from the future.
@Jon_Heyman: If Pujols wants to prove he’s worthy of holding the largest baseball contract in the free world he should just release his birth certificate.
@Jon_Heyman: Prove us wrong, Mr. Pujols. What do you have to hide??!?!!!?
RT @2003Truther: NEW DOCUMENTS REVEAL STEVE BARTMAN WAS A GOVERNMENT AGENT. 2003 NLCS WAS AN INSIDE JOB!
@Jon_Heyman: BREAKING: Source with knowledge of Pujols situation says he is not from the Dominican Republic, as he claims.
@Jon_Heyman: Word is that Pujols holds Kenyan/Indonesian dual citizenship.
RT @handsoffmyguns: pujolz is a socialist-marxist-atheist-muslim. open ur minds people! The anti-christ is here.
@Jon_Heyman: If Pujols would lie about his citizenship, what else could he be lying about?
@Jon_Heyman: It’s so simple to put all this to rest. Just show us your birth certificate.
On December 15, Pujols releases his birth certificate:
@Jon_Heyman: What a sham! First, this is a short-form birth certificate. Second, it’s clearly been photoshopped.
RT @Beck4Prez: Invest in gold now, folks. If Pujols is successful in his aims, you will want to protect your assets from the impending economic collapse.
@Jon_Heyman: Tony La Russa: “I feel betrayed.”
@Jon_Heyman: How much contempt must Pujols have for the people if he thinks we would buy that short-form hogwash?
RT @AnswerDave: Answer Man: Luke Scott talks guns, his bomb shelter and Pujols origin bit.ly/b34u73
@Jon_Heyman: Luke Scott on Pujols: “[Pujols] was not born here. That’s my belief. I was born here. If someone accuses me of not being born here, I can go — within 10 minutes — to my filing cabinet and I can pick up my real birth certificate and I can go, ‘See? Look! Here it is. Here it is.’ The man has dodged everything. He dodges questions, he doesn’t answer anything.”
@Jon_Heyman: Major kudos to Luke Scott for speaking the truth!
On December 18, Pujols releases his long-form birth certificate:
@Jon_Heyman: Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice, shame on us.
RT @takebackarecountry: I cant believe this! Antoher forgery! What does he think we our, morans?
On December 20, Pujols signs with a team for a lot of money:
@Jon_Heyman: Make no mistake, this movement is not over. We will continue to fight to protect the U.S. Constitution!