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Bonds might pay for missed time

Cuban age veracity

Two Cuban players defected this past week and,
frankly, I'm a little shocked they forgot to bring
their birth certificates with them in the heat of the
moment. The better of the two -- pitcher Maels
Rodriguez -- claims to be 24 while the other is
31-year old Yobal Duenas. If Duenas is admitting to
being 31 there is really no telling how old he is.
This brings up an interesting question: when and why
do Cuban players start lying about their age?
Obviously, there is no need to do it while still on
the island, is there? It's not like there is a need to
be younger there for professional purposes. Do they
begin lying about their age while young just in case
they ever defect and need to look more appealing to
Free World ballclubs? Maybe all baseball players --
regardless of nationality -- just lie about their age
instinctively?

Bonds vs. Pujols redux

The votes are already in and counted, so it's probably
academic to discuss the relative merits of Barry Bonds
and Albert Pujols -- but let's do it anyway. The main
complaint against Bonds' candidacy is that he missed
31 Giants games this year. That's a fair argument.
After all, it's hard to be valuable if you're not
there. (Personally, I'd cut him the slack because of
the nature of the missed time, but that's just me.)

There's a method used by Major League Baseball to
determine batting champions that can be utilized in
this situation as well. As you know, in order to
qualify for a batting title, a player must make 3.1
plate appearances for every game his team plays. It
works out to 502 for the 162-game schedule. If a
player hits .390 but falls short of the requirement,
what they can do is charge him with 3.1 at bats for
every game missed and then see what his batting
average looks like. If it still bests the man in
second place, then he's the batting champion.