KNUCKLEBALLS, By Dave Clark - Knuckleball HQ
The Chase For Matsuzaka
Time: Two Hours Till "Who Gets To Negotiate For Baseball's Next Saviour"?
As owner/operator of a website devoted to circus sideshow clown pitches--primarily the knuckleball--I'm expected to know about any phenom who is even allegedly throwing something weird. This guy says he sometimes accidentally throws Baseball's Bigfoot: the gyroball. My website's message board has had some discussion about it, and it's an intriguing pitch, at least.
There will be an extensive article in ESPN magazine to which I'm contributing that'll be out in another month, and Matsuzaka may also be on paper then. I can fill you in when the timing's right.
His first name is pronounced DICE-kay, the "u" being silent.
He thankfully calls himself D-Mat. Never to be confused with A-Rod. The only head cases involved here are batters trying to figure this guy out. No matter what he throws, if he stays healthy, he'll be the real deal. As a Red Sox fan I can feel my wallet getting thinner just thinking about him.
Time: Two Hours After The Red Sox Got Only The Chance To Talk To Him For A Giant Pile Of Coin
51.1 fat ones for the wunderkind? (Sorry... he isn't German, is he?) This is hilarious. We know one thing: the Yankees won't get him. Which raises an interesting scenario apparently no other team took advantage of. Say, for example, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. They don't have a shot in Hades and they know it. They also know that one of the big dogs would throw a bale of cash at Japan and go for D-Mat, who'd come over here and wreck things for everybody else. So what they could have done is bid, say, 893 billion dollars to talk to him and his celebrity cash tractor, Scott Boras, for thirty days, then throw up their hands (wink) and let him stay over there, where the Yankees and Red Sox can't use him, and they get their rubber check for 893 billion back. Then they can go back to signing unknown rookies who give the Yankees and Red Sox giant fits, which is the smarter move. Actually, the smarter move for everyone.
Name all the big names who really made the difference in the playoffs and World Series over the past dozen years. Not exactly a lineup to the Hall Of Fame, in most cases. Closer to the roster for the Lansing Lugnuts, but they did the job like the big-ticket boys really didn't do much of. Still, the alpha dogs are fun to watch all season long and make the water-cooler soap opera discussion all the more entertaining; the amateur comedians start to sound like they may actually have a pro career, maybe simply because so many people are babbling, and odds are, you'll hear a few funny comments. Like the child from Finland, brought over by her parents, who only knows one English phrase: "Manny being Manny".
The Sox having this guy on the mound has stunning obvious potential. This will attract herds of new Japanese fans from places all over New England, like Milo, Maine; Nantucket; and Thetford, Vermont. Then they'd fill the Fenway Park seats the Sox can't sell because they're too expensive... wait... scratch that... okay, how about all those ticket prices won't look so bad since everyone will think that price is in yen?
Seriously, I'll be thrilled every fifth day if we can get past all the nonsense and put a Sox uni on this rocket launcher. As to ticket prices, well, I haven't had enough obscene piles of cash to even think about an SRO spot outside on the street since Nixon and Schilling were Russ Nixon and Chuck Schilling, which doesn't matter. At home I get the best views, I don't have to watch another fan's butt-cheeks slide by my face while I'm trying to watch a fresh new hilarious Manny moment, my butt-cheeks fit my custom-made butt-groove on the Barcalounger, and the bathroom ain't lined up to the ATM I don't have to rob because I can afford all that beer in my own fridge.
And, let me tell ya about parking.
AUTOGRAPH HOUND, By Marc Schoder - Autograph Dog
Where have all the Card Collectors gone?
The 1995 song, "Where have all the Cowboys Gone", by Paula Cole, has some ring to it with some diehard collectors with its parody, "Where have all the card collectors gone".
The husband and wife collecting team of Ron and Sharon Altman, of Altman Sports Cards in Jacksonville, Florida, said that it was their daughter that got them started collecting cards. "In 1987, our daughter had a small collection", said Sharon. "When she graduated high school and went into the Army, she gave her dad her collection and it grew from there".
That collection, which has grown to several webpages on their site shows why they think sports card collecting isnít dead. "No, I think that as soon as baseball season winds down and football season starts up; then you have basketball and hockey and racing", said Ron. "I think it comes in waves, and if one sport is down then another starts and the interest goes into that sport".
The Florida couple believes that sports card collecting does not appeal to some due to one simple human emotion. "I believe that there are some folks that just don't like sports and want to get in on the collecting wave", said Sharon. Ron adds his agreement. "It also might appeal to kids that have active imaginations", he said. He noted that non-sport cards like this can keep kids out of trouble.
The Altmans said even though the non-sport cards are picking up in popularity, younger kids are out there still collecting. "They're out there; you just need to know where to look", the couple said. Sharon said that the auction website eBay.com has also influenced the hobby. "I would say that it has. However, I do not use eBay.com as often as some of my friends do". She said it is a good way to get the cards that you want and canít get any other way.
However, Sharon notes that since she and her husband have been collecting it has become harder to find people to trade with. "Yes, it has. It seems most folks are out to get rich from the hobby and they are looking for high-end game-used and autograph items". "They also want star rookies like Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter".
Will Gardner, 29, of Albuquerque says one of the reasons he first got into non-sport cards was his friends. "I watched my friends play with the cards and I liked what they were doing", Gardner said.
The 29-year-old says that the "Magic the Gathering" cards are built around a game that is considered fun by many and valuable to some. "You can go to most bookstores or collectibles shops to buy trade magazines that give current market values on those cards", said Gardner. "Another way of finding out is going and looking up the specific cards on the auction website eBay.com".
Gardner said that even though the popularity with "Magic the Gathering" cards are growing, he believes that sports cards will always prevail. "They really don't have as strong a following", he said. "It is mostly attributed to people who don't like to look at games because they think it may make them look like a dork".
Gardner, who has collected "Magic the Gathering" cards for eight years, said one of the other reasons he collects the cards is the artwork. "They have some beautiful artwork and they even have a good mythological history behind the cards", he said.
Marc Schoder is a freelance writer and computer consultant in New Mexico. He can be contacted at autographdog.com or usavirtualassistant.com or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The contents of the respective articles represent the opinions of the individual writers and not necessarily those of the editor/owner of The Oddball Mall Sports Cards.
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