When I was a boy, I could get easily autographs from baseball players.
When I took my children to a professional baseball game this week, it was impossible.
“Because of the autograph hounds,” they told me. “Players stay away from stands.”
Hounds - adults who get signatures on memorabilia and sell them online.
Hounds for signatures. Signatures for money. Money for more memorabilia. Hitting the cycle.
So the kids hawk around the dugout to no avail.
The players stay far from the hounds, far from the kids (except those who pay $75 to watch batting practice).
Or huddle in the dugout until their glorious name is called and their image is broadcast onto the Jumbotron.
Still, they collect untold millions.
I question the use of that word.
And kids sit in the stands with unsigned baseballs.
Because of the “autograph hounds,” they tell me.
(They should all meet Phil Mickelson, a true professional.)
I’ll stick to the minor leagues.
You can have the professionals. And their hounds.
They’re in a symbiotic relationship, I tell ya.
The professionals provide the hounds just enough to keep them coming back.
The hounds provide the professionals a protective excuse-barrier.
It’s the lone hound that provides the excuse for the professional to steer clear of the crowds.
That one whacko who spoils it for all of us.
New norms - far from the crowds.
“Let the little children come unto me” said that man with healing in his wings.
And I suppose even the dogs deserve the crumbs.