Friday 4: Injury fetishes, counterfeit cardboard, an irrelevant braggart, and a great fake out

Once again we’ve reached Friday and another installment of “Friday 4”, where I talk about the four things I’ve been thinking about from the last week and the upcoming weekend in sports and the world.

Earlier this week Boston Red Sox infielder Justin Turner was hit in the face by a pitch thrown by Matt Manning. As one would expect, Turner needed help from the training staff but was eventually able to walk off the field under his own power while holding a towel to his face. At least at this point, it appears that Turner, who needed 16 stitches to close the cut, escaped what could have been a much more significant injury.

Readers will note that there is no video of this incident included in this post. That’s because I’m not one of the ghoulish people who likes to see people injured over and over again.

There seems to be a growing population of people on the internet that get their jollies by watching other people get hurt. You know the people I’m talking about, the ones that don’t enjoy the actual sport and only want to see players writhing on the field in pain or being carted off nearly unconscious. The internet is full of compilation videos showing such things over and over again.

We run into this in hockey all the time where some people are only interested in watching two guys fight as opposed to watching them, you know, playing hockey. Fighting is an important part of players self-policing in hockey, and of course, you want the guy wearing your jersey to win the battle. But to just see two guys throwing punches for no reason other than to show who is tougher is just silly. If you want to watch two people being the crap out of each other, go watch MMA.

Injuries happen in sports and are an unfortunate part of the game. I can still clearly remember the sound of IceCats forward Lindsay Vallis crashing into the boards and breaking his leg. I don’t need to relive it by seeing it on video, it’s etched into my memory. Falcons forward Eric Healey skating off trailing blood behind him after having his wrist stepped on in a puck battle is something I don’t need to see again.

More recently, Tommy Kelley crashing into the endboards and the eerie silence in the DCU Center as the medical team rushed to his aid is something I’ll never forget. I got no enjoyment out of any of those or the dozens of other incidents that have happened in front of me in sporting events over the years.

And I think those that watch injuries for amusement need to seek professional help for their obvious mental illness.

Until I got married I was very much into collecting sports memorabilia. Even after weeding out my collection years ago, I’d conservatively guess I still have over a million sports and non-sports cards in my collection. For those thinking that’s not possible, that works out to only 200 5,000-count boxes, and I have at least that many in my storage unit. That number doesn’t include the complete sets I have, so a million cards are probably the minimum.

I only mention this because I just read about a man who is facing federal wire fraud charges for counterfeiting Michael Jordan trading cards. As technology gets better and better so does the likelihood that older, extremely valuable cards are being faked.

Reading the article my guess is the victims, described as “card collectors”, were not really collectors but were investors who perhaps weren’t as knowledgeable as they should have been in the area of sports cards and card grading. It appears that the counterfeiters got caught by people who knew how to tell the real from the fake, and then alerted authorities who launched an investigation.

Counterfeiting was a big issue back in the day, with the Fleer Jordan rookie and Upper Deck Ken Griffy, Jr rookie being the most faked. In the early 1990s, both were easily detectable if you knew what to look for, and trust me, we all knew what to look for. Eventually, the counterfeiting made it to other collectibles like Magic: the Gathering, where the 1st Edition Base Set Charizard card is one of the most valuable non-sports cards ever. (You can read about one attempt over on CGC).

I can tell you now that the collecting I used to do had pretty much nothing to do with investing. While I have some stuff worth a decent chunk of change, most are pretty much worthless in the card market. But they’re players and teams I like, so to me, they’re priceless. I can remember opening packs, getting cards that were super-hot at the time, and selling them right away to buy the stuff I really wanted.

There probably aren’t too many collectors in the US who like early O-Pee-Chee baseball cards, but I’m one of them. I also own one of the largest collections of John Olerud baseball cards. That and a buck and a quarter gets you a coffee at Cumberland Farms.

But don’t spill that coffee near my sports cards.

I really don’t want to talk about the 1986 World Series anymore.

Honestly, it was over 36 years ago, we all know what happened, and winning the World Series four times since then has taken a lot of the sting out of it. But Mookie Wilson, who literally has nothing going for himself other than reliving his lucky at bat, continues to bring it up. But this time, enough is enough.

Wilson recently claimed on some podcast that it didn’t matter if Bill Buckner had fielded the ball cleanly or not, Wilson still would have beaten Buckner to the bag and would have been safe anyway. He says he and Buckner talked about it and Bucker said he wasn’t pretty sure Wilson would have been safe.

That’s nice and all, but completely irrelevant.

If Buckner fields the ball cleanly Ray Knight has to stop at third base and doesn’t score on the play. The next batter is Howard Johnson, who was 0-5 in the series at that point. Sure, Johnson could get a hit and the game ends, but that’s no given considering the circumstances. The math says Bob Stanley gets Johnson out and we go to the eleventh inning. Of course, the Red Sox might still have lost, but that’s not the point here.

Wilson being safe at first doesn’t play as big a role as he wants to think it did. Buckner’s error allowed Knight to score from second, and without that error, the game continues tied 5-5.

And then Wilson would be even more irrelevant than he already is.

My former podcast co-host Hokey posted a great baseball video on Facebook yesterday. It’s so good that I’m going to save my original fourth section for next week and just add a link to the video he posted. If you’re a baseball fan, it’s worth watching.

The greatest fake ever?

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