Stand up 2 Cancer (the one with the arrow and a 2), Katie Couric’s .org that was started for her dead husband which may/may not worry her current husband, is a decent organization. And I’m a sucker for celebrity-type auctions. Thinking about how much I would pay to jump into a time machine and have a meet-and-greet with Sherwood Schwartz and Bob Denver on the set of Gilligan’s Island occupies a second-helping size slice on my fantasy life pie chart. That said, a few of the current MLB ‘experience’ charity auction selections are head scratchers…
Meet-and-greet with Vin Scully in the Dodgers’ booth? Absolutely. Watching 1986 Game 6 with Mookie Wilson? Count me the fuck in. A day on the South Side with Harold Baines (I’m assuming this is spent hustling and day drinking), um, two please.
…But they’re not all winners.
Below a few cringeworthy items currently up for bid at MLB.com till Dec. 10; think the fruit-and-nut basket or a local watercolorist’s offering entitled ‘bobbing boats’ equivalent at your PTA auction, only with bigger price tags and steeper downsides:
• Tour the 9/11 museum with John Franco. The item description: The winning bidder will receive the opportunity to tour the 9/11 Museum with a museum director alongside Mets legend John Franco makes my mouth water in a not-so-good-revenge-drinking-with-Jäger kind of way. Why not stop by Auschwitz with Ben Braun or make a diorama of the Tulsa race riot with Andrew McCutchen? For the record, this has nothing to do with me not wanting to meet John Franco. The Brooklyn-born save master is a legend. In May of ‘96 against the Cubbies, the Mets hosted “John Franco Day” to celebrate his 300th career save. In the fifth inning, a brawl that cleared both benches and bullpens resulted in Franco being ejected. Who gets ejected on their day? I’d much rather go hunker down at his favorite bar in Bensonhurst than relive the images of planes crashing into the workplace and hear people around me utter things like, “I can’t believe she died but her glasses survived.”
• Oakland Athletics Intern for a day: ANY OTHER TEAM, I’m down. But why does this seem like Lew Wolff-branded Schadenfreude from the get-go? I feel like paying to be an A’s intern is the exact type of evil plan Billy Beane would engineer. Either he’d swap you out for five Ray’s minor league interns and you’d find yourself flying standby Oakland to Tampa by 11 a.m. or worse, you’re going to have to spend 12-14 break-free hours cleaning the old Folgers Crystals from the training room coffee maker, squeeging the sewage out of the visitor’s dugout or trailing after Josh Reddick and Swiffering up his tobacco spit because they didn’t have enough in the coffers to replace the Roomba. Beane wins again.
Free Wheelin’ with the Phillie Phanatic: Holy fucking shit, is body armor included? Why isn’t this auction called, “Get batteries thrown at your face”? Or, “You thought recruiting for Isis in front of the Encinitas Whole Foods was bad”? The MLB description of what will amount to volunteering as stunt double for the last scene in Braveheart is classic: The winning (<–loosest use of that word, ever) bidder will experience life as the Phillie Phanatic often referred to as the best mascot in sports as he takes you for a spin on the field aboard the Hatfield Hot Dog Launcher during the 7th inning of a Phillies game at Citizens Bank Park. I feel like this would be less fraught with danger if the prize was, Unsanctioned Oval Office Streaking Opportunity or Ponzi Scheme Fall Guy.
San Diego Padres – Spring Training Scouting Audition: This is another dubious offering similar to the A’s ‘auctioning’ off what amounts to free labor. In this scenario you sit with “legendary scout and Padres Vice President, Scouting Operations Don Welke for three innings for a scouting lesson.” (<– so you’re saying he’s a scout). Three innings bouncing on Welke’s knee seems like a lot more on-the-job training than the rest of the Friars’ advance team has gotten over the last decade. Pinkie swear that you won’t sign another closer till 2020 and you’re hired!
• Tampa Bay Rays – Fishin’ with the Skipper: The winning bidder will go fishing with Rays Manager Kevin Cash and bench Coach Tom Foley during Spring Training. Um, yeah, we know how well those off-shore fishing expeditions with professional athletes go in Tampa Bay. Four go out, one comes back. The perfect gift for your underemployed, verbally abusive, concealed carry permit-having brother-in-law who announced this past Thanksgiving that he may have a job opportunity “just outside Phoenix.”
• Washington Nationals – Golf with Max Scherzer: Feeling a little too good about yourself? Then go on a round with a guy who throws no-hitters, is worth a quarter-billion dollars, comes with more than a passing resemblance to Ryan Gosling and probably has to regularly get wanded for his 11-inch schlong by TSA. You can hear about how he fingerblasted 283 senate interns along with every hostess from Founding Farmers plus one cashier from Five Guys in the DC metro last year and you can tell him how your presentation entitled: Grower Not a Shower: Portfolio management for Millennials entering the workplace absolutely crushed at WFG. Don’t worry, he won’t be listening—he just disappeared behind the port-a-lets with the cart girl at the turn.
• MLB.com – Correspondent for a day: All you have to do is file 48 stories, complete all SEO title tag and meta data, shoot and edit three videos, appear on four podcasts (not including your own) and provide related tweets, instas and Facebook posts to lift traffic. And when none of those get traction—you’ll be relegated to the slideshow dungeon in the afternoon and we’ll give your Jimmy John’s to the A’s intern as punishment.
• Hike Camelback with AJ Pollock: Has anyone bidding in this auction ever hiked Camelback? I have. I’ve done it in peak physical form when I lived in the mountains and ran 50-plus trail miles/week at altitude and it was still a bitch. Camelback is not for the faint of heart or the round of waist. Assuming the winning bidder might be a typical D-backs age demo and has to take oxygen breaks on the walk up to any seats above where that pool is, I’d say pass on this one. The other terrible thing is—depending on the time of year—Camelback is a Bataan Death March of pasty Midwestern girl bachelorette parties, overzealous families of four who were families of six when they started and retirees striving to reach the peak so they can do a Last of the Mohicans-style Nestea plunge off the summit. Maybe hunker down at the Hotel Valley Ho and watch 127 Hours OnDemand with AJ instead.
Enjoy the bidding!