Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Alfred is 25 and I'm 39 !

Dear readers,

I'm just back from Dubai where I bought a large patch of sand only about 62 kilometers from the coast. Hey, I have to think about retirement one day.

The first article I pick up upon my return talks about tonight's starter, Alfredo Aceves.

I need to tell you folks a few things before you get all worked up about this rookie starter.

When Alfredo first entered the South Mexico Independent Dirt-field league in 1989, he was 16 years old, played shortstop, and was signed under a totally different name. Morales, I think it was. Andy Morales.

He had great range, a fine arm, and lots of "movement" on his throws to first...essentially, the first signs of a slider and sinker. He led the league in errors and batted about .153.

As he moved from our team to that of the neighboring town ( there is only an "A-" level in the dirt-field league ) his reputation grew from hot prospect, to prospect , to bartender.

It should be noted that there are also a few years on his latest "curriculum vitae " which are politely described as "unaccounted for," according to the locals.

So about two years ago, stories start circulating about this unheralded, young pitcher with a Cuban accent who was turning heads in our league. I went up to Chihuahua ( a quaint little desert town ) to check him out on a 103 degree day, where he won both ends of a double header ( 12-10; and 14-13 ).

After the game, still in uniform , he met me in the cantina and introduced himself as Alfredo Aceves. We had several little shooters and he told me that he had attracted interest from the "Yankees."

I assumed, of course, that he had broken some law while stateside where he had temporarily relocated for arm surgery.

In any case, I am now practially certain that this is the same man pitching tonight in Anaheim. The same guy the NY sportswriters are hailing as a 25 year old rookie.

Do the math guys. He was 16 when he began in our dirt league in 1989.

Oh well, El Duque pitched well for us when he was as a 43 year old rookie, and everyone believed he was 29.

This dude is , for sure, better than Ian or Phil, but let's not pencil him in as the younger brother of either.

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