In addition to cards, readers have sent and offered a variety of other items. From the very cool (old laser wire photos), to the very odd (a Youppi toy), to the just plain weird (recently a well intentioned gentleman offered a bat along with a long detailed story about how sentimental the bat was to him and he didn't want to part with it, I suggested he just keep the bat).
This jersey is easily the coolest thing to be sent by a reader. It's a Matt Wallach Dodgers jersey from a Spring Training game in 2012 played on St. Patrick's Day against the Rockies at the Salt River Complex in Scottsdale, Arizona. It's not technically game worn, as Matt didn't get into the game. He did get his name on the scoreboard line-up though, as he was sent in to pinch hit only to see the third out made from the on-deck circle. I know all of this because I was at the game.
Last week, Austin from Redondo Beach, California (who has previously sent cards) contacted me and said he had a Matt Wallach jersey and wanted to know if I was interested in it. Austin had been at Dodger Fan Fest recently and bought one of the "mystery bags" they were selling. This was what was inside his. So I thanked him and immediately took him up on his offer.
I'm not quite sure what to do with it now that it's in hand. I have backlog of jersey's I want to get framed, and no disrespect to Matt, but this isn't at the front of the line. It's my exact size, and would probably fit me great, but I'm a little hesitant to do so since it's autographed. Here are some more photos of it:
I mentioned this earlier on this blog, but Tim Wallach was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame last week. As a result, he's done a couple of radio interviews, and been on the MLB Channel talking about the induction. During one of the interviews he mentioned that Matt has decided to move on from professional baseball and start the next phase of his life. I was disappointed to hear this. I can't begin to imagine how difficult a decision it has to be to walk away after getting as close a Triple-A and Spring Training games without ever breaking through.
That line of thought led me to another question, "how much stuff are players allowed to keep?" If I'm Matt Wallach, or any other young player trying to reach the majors, I'm hanging on to souvenirs like this. A St. Patrick's Day Dodger Jersey from a Spring Training game, it's going in my take home duffel bag, not a Dodger Fan Fest "mystery bag." I don't think doing so makes you a hoarder or narcissist either. Chances are every school, team, league you've ever played in wants stuff for their trophy cases, not to mention friends and family. Perhaps having a father who was a 17 year MLB vet raises the bar on what is worth keeping and what isn't. I don't know. But if Matt Wallach ever happens to stumble across this and wants the jersey, just ask, it's yours. Literally.
Photos I took at the game this was worn, I would have taken more had I known someone was going to send me the jersey two years down the road.