Mo Money

Sssh. Do you hear that? That's the weeping of my unborn children. They're lamenting their college educations. College educations that depended on Mo Vaughn's career. And we all know what that's worth now: bubkes. The Anaheim Angels signed him during the off season.

Now, I don't follow baseball, but even someone who doesn't follow baseball knows the Angels have not only been the death of many player's careers, but they've also been the death of many players.

This is not good news for someone who, eight years ago, decided to thumb their nose at Wall Street and make a more sound investment in a baseball card. I mean, there are conventions and numerous stores dedicated solely to those little squares of cardboard. I figured there must be something to it. I wanted a piece of the action, and I figured buying cheapie cards was for suckers. So one day in San Clemente, I laid down four crisp Washingtons. Since I knew nothing about baseball-and was on roller skates and stoned-I chose my card the only way I knew how: randomly.

I perused the case, and then I saw him: Mo Vaughn. I was seduced by the name alone. "Can't get enough of your love, Mo Vaughn," I heard Barry White crooning. Aaaah, yeeaah. His name sounded sexy. Stats? What are these stats you speak of?

"Oh, yeah. That's a rookie card all right," my roommate, Rich, informed me, himself a collector. "That's the best kind to buy, too. They're nicer, and they cost more."

I had made a wise investment, which was to be my nest egg. I figured if you're going to buy a nest egg, buy one in a shiny plastic holder.

My ears pricked up for years every time a sportscaster uttered Mo's name. I was keeping tabs. On what, I didn't know. Someone told me Mo "hit a lot of round trippers," and I flashed on my skating days. Aaaah, yeeaah. Me and Mo had it going on. Easy Street. I could blow off that 401K. I mean, come on: I had a Mo Vaughn rookie card. These things go up in value, right? Right? And I liked the Red Sox uniform. So East Coast. And Sam Malone played for them, right? Am I right?

But then the Angels had to go and sign Mo. Disney knew exactly what they were doing. Mo's a swell guy: he donates to charity, is involved in his community, took responsibility when he flipped his truck on an icy road while under the influence of alcohol. This is a good man. But now he's doomed. I've been told that if he's lucky, his career will merely spiral downward as he becomes yet another high-profile Angels free-agent flop. I've been told that if he's not that lucky, he . . . he . . .

I'm praying for you, Mo. And if you don't mind, I'm putting in a word with the Big Guy. For me. Last time I checked, my card was worth 6 bucks. Six bucks!Now, an optimist would point out that the card has appreciated 50 percent in eight years. I would, however, point out 6 FREAKIN' BUCKS!

You and me, Mo. We need to take it to the Series. Do it for the kids, Mo. My kids. C'mon, Mo; baby needs a Yale sweat shirt!


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