KNUCKLEBALLS, By Dave Clark - Knuckleball HQ
Bleacher Creatures and Beyond
I first used the term some years back and while I won't take credit for being the first to use it, I'm glad it means something good.
They were the subject of a book. Though Yankees fans, they're A-1 grade-A class. No beach balls, no painted faces, no Wave. They show up to support their team, through thick and especially thin. They rag on players, but it's good-natured. They respect their seating location, the venue, the players. They respect the game they love.
No team could have enough Bleacher Creatures. They buy the tickets when the team is scrabbling for any kind of good look out there. They pitch in and work the charity events. They have the bumper stickers, the shirts and hats, never as a fashion statement. They show up in the rain when the corporate luxury box seats go empty, unfilled by out-of-towners who didn't take the chance to be entertained at The Place To Be. Bleacher Creatures can explain the infield fly rule, and how someone could turn an unassisted triple play.
Their type is found at other ballparks and in other sports. They have my highest praise, and it wouldn't matter to me what team or sport, if I sit next to one, it'll be a treat.
Which brings me to this World Cup futbol thing...
I can't quite fathom why Americans don't get into soccer. Maybe it's all the other distractions, or they're stretched thin between work and whatever leisure activities they already have going. The few interested are downloading videos of Ronaldinho, a Brazilian ball juggler who's almost a living video game. The stock answer to "you watching the U.S. and the Czech Republic?" basically comes down to no one here having the ability or interest to find either country on a globe.
For at least one compelling reason, though, Americans should watch. It has to do with respect for the game and respect for oneself, as a spectator and fan.
The newest FIFA rule is: "Any announcer stretching out the word, 'goal' longer than one-half second shall be pounded flat as a shadow with a ball peen hammer."
AUTOGRAPH HOUND, By Marc Schoder - Autograph Dog
Jocks & Bonds
When I was looking through my personal card collection the other day, it hit me that Barry Bonds had actually unseated the Babe for second on the all-time home run list. I was wondering if he really deserves accolades for achieving this "amazing" feat. The day this happened Major League Baseball did nothing. I congratulate them for this.
As a sports memorabilia dealer I am like a stock broker on Wall Street. If people want to buy Bonds cards I am happy to sell to them. However, I've put a twist on this phenomenon: I will sell them for 60-70% of book value. The reason behind this madness is that I personally couldn't care less for Bonds or what he has done for the game. I consider myself a "baseball purist," if there is such a word. Frankly, the man has destroyed the game for his own gain.
Can we blame Mr. Bonds? I say no, not really. Sadly, this is the American way. No matter how we look at it, this will still happen. If Bonds ever manages to break Hank Aaron's record of 755 home runs just bow your head in silence at the crumbling status of the game.
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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