9.27.2011

Matt Riley, 2001 Bowman


Name: Matt Riley
Team: Baltimore Orioles
Position: Pitcher
Value of card: One fake Matt Riley autograph (or, for that matter, one real Matt Riley autograph)
Key 2000 stat: 232 fewer strikeouts than in Little League in 1994
It's true, we tells ya: We could spend a few hundred words wasting your time writing about how this ridiculous card features an Aryan cyborg sent from the year 2137 with eyes that shoot blue lasers and a chin that's so sharp it can cut through diamonds, but, instead, we'll tell you a true story about Mr. Riley. When he was 15, he was on a varsity high school baseball team in the Bay Area but still played on a Little League team when schedules didn't conflict. Needless to say, he was the best pitcher in the Little League senior major division, and probably the best hitter, too. He threw about 92 mph, which at 14, the age of most of the league's players, looked like 192. One of the monkeys here at The Bust played in that league. Here's a play-by-play of the first at-bat against Riley:

Pitch 1: 10,000-mph fastball down the middle for a strike; swing physically impossible; fear courses through body.
Pitch 2: Curve ball heads straight for helmet's ear hole, forcing a dive to the ground, before ball bends over the heart of the plate for a called strike.
Pitch 3: 14,000-mph fastball that somehow moves much like a "Dusty Diamond All-Star Softball" pitch from a witch, for a swinging strike three, though the swing barely crosses the plate and looks as if it were powered by two pieces of cooked spaghetti.

And here's a play-by-play of the second at-bat against Riley:

Pitch 1: 17,500-mph fastball becomes a heat-seeking missile, zeroes in on rib cage, knocks wind out of scared middle-schooler, puncturing the flesh, but not nearly as much as the boy's ego; Riley would strike out the next three batters, stranding the runner at first.

And the third at-bat?

Pitch 1: Thrown to another player because the coach figured the kid had been through enough that day.
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