Blogs > Jim Collins' Editor's Notebook

Jim Collins is editor emeritus of The News-Herald and also serves as executive in residence at Lakeland Community College. His popular weekly column appears each Sunday in Comment in The News-Herald.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

He’s no no-name! Simply remember which it is

I am a lifetime subscriber to the theory that Murphy’s Law is not only a reflection of how things work in the universe, it is also an article of faith that you don’t want to monkey with, tease, taunt or otherwise take a chance of offending for fear of having it happen to someone very close to you.

The issue at hand is the case of mistaken identity involving an Indians pitcher who has been going by the name of Fausto Carmona.

And I’m sure you can quote Murphy’s Law: If something can go wrong, it will.

In the Carmona matter, don’t say “Murphy’s Law” too loud. If you do, something may indeed go wrong. Let’s be careful how we talk about this. We don’t want anything to go wrong, do we?

My feeling is that no good can come of this.

Those of us who follow baseball are aware that Fausto can be an extremely talented pitcher on occasion.

One such occasion, as Jim Ingraham reminds us, was his second start last season, when he pitched seven shutout innings on two hits in a 1-0 victory over Boston.

That is what we expect of him each time he pitches. But sometimes he is awful. Those are the times when he becomes confused over his identity and thinks he may be Roberto Hernandez Heredia.

I saw him pitch many times for the Lake County Captains when he compiled a stunning 17-3 record at the ballyard on Vine Street known as Classic Park.

He pitched with supreme confidence. He was not confused about who he was. He had an assortment of pitches designed to confuse batters. He was Fausto and he was pitching like Fausto.

Naturally, he went to the big leagues in a hurry. I saw him pitch often, sometimes at Jacobs/Progressive Field but mostly on TV.

The camera closeups of him were revealing. And those TV cameraman can really get in close to players.

When he pitched badly, he began to sweat. He didn’t know his true identity. He got to thinking about how he, Roberto, was no longer Fausto.

And it has now been revealed that it was a case of identity theft, a misstep that sometimes happens in the Dominican Republic.

It seems that the woman who was the mother of the real Fausto was accepting money from Roberto in exchange for their agreement not to share with the world their secret that he was actually Robeto and not Fausto.

It has not been satisfactorily explained why he preferred the name Fausto over Roberto, but it probably has to do with an innocent mistake on his original application for a travel visa to the U.S. so he could pitch in Eastlake.

He mistakenly put down Fausto instead of Roberto (they sound alike), became confused and accidentally put down the wrong last name also.

This is not identity theft in the truest sense. The guy doesn’t need to steal anything. He makes millions of dollars a year, and he can afford a visa, a Visa card, or a Master Card, for that matter.

But the mother of the real person who went by the name Fausto Carbona found out about it and began to extract payments from our man Roberto in order to keep the secret secure.

When that wasn’t preying on his mind, he pitched 1-0, two-hit shutouts. When he began to think about it, it became a matter of concern.

And there was no hiding his concern. You could tell by the way he perspired, took off his cap, wiped the beads of perspiration off his brow and tried to concentrate on his pitching.

I saw it happen over and over. When he didn’t worry about his identity, he was sensational.

But every time he went into his Hamlet mode, he became a worrier. He didn’t say, “To be or not to be.” He said, “Who am I? Am I Fausto or am I Roberto?” And the thought made him sweat.

Every time he began to sweat profusely and started pitching badly, I knew there was something on his mind.
I didn’t know until recently what it was that was bothering him. He aged three years worrying about it! Talk about an unfortunate fast forward! The Indians thought he was 28 and he was really 31. All from worrying.

The Indians would be well advised not to let go of him. He has great talent when he is not worrying, and if they ever let him go, I guarantee you he would come back, pitch for the Yankees, be something like 28-4 with an ERA of 2.04, and change his name to Cy Young. Or maybe Cy Pres.

And you thought I didn’t speak French!

Actually, that spelling is correct. Cy pres is a legal term for “share the wealth.” Cy Prez is a tenor saxophone player by the name of Lester Young. But I digress.


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