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JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 22: Jose Ceda #52 of the Florida Marlins poses during photo day at Roger Dean Stadium on February 22, 2009 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
It's, um, traditionally not an area of much competition, but Herald scribe Clark Spencer handily wins the prize for Most Interesting Marlins-Related Story of the Day after finding out what not a single team executive or player knew: pitcher Jose Ceda shot one of his friends last winter.
With a gun and everything.
Of course, this is Miami, and let he among us who hasn't shot anyone, accidental or otherwise, cast the first stone. But Ceda never told anyone, and the Cubs, if they knew, didn't tell the Marlins before trading the hefty reliever south just before last spring training.
In fact, neither manager Fredi Gonzalez nor president of baseball ops Larry Beinfest had any idea that the reason Ceda showed up to last year's camp overweight was because he was essentially under house arrest in the Dominican Republic pending a criminal investigation.
And they weren't informed when the burden, emotional as well as physical, may have contributed to Ceda missing all of last season with injury.
"It seems a little weird," said Beinfest when a reporter informed him one of his own players shot someone.
We'll say. Especially because Ceda shared the story with a Herald reporter when asked about his recent weight loss, as if it wasn't something one normally tells one's boss first.
(And how does that go, really? "Hey, Ceda, man, lookin' lean this spring!" "Yeah, that's because I didn't pierce anyone's flesh with a bullet this offseason. I recommend it; much easier than Slim-Fast.")
His manager, Paul Kinzer, said that Ceda was a complete emotional mess when the incident went down, and that the trauma of the accident "changed everything about him." He also said Ceda paid every penny of the medical bills, about $11,000.
Though details are, as Spencer wrote, "fuzzy," Dominican authorities appear to have backed up Ceda's claim that the shooting was entirely accidental.
Or have they? Is this even the real Jose Ceda? Is he actually in prison right now and being played by a rubber-armed doppelganger? Have we been shot ourselves and are actually unaware? It's hard to say, what with all the bizarro secrets not swirling around.