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NAX: The mind is a fine place to bury all those nice illusions - Odessa American: Ken Brodnax

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NAX: The mind is a fine place to bury all those nice illusions

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Posted: Wednesday, February 11, 2009 12:00 am

Forget the trading cards. No more bobble-head dolls for me. I’m gonna start collecting tarnished idols.

In fact, I got me a five-star model over the weekend. It’s the A-Fraud line. Or maybe that’s A-Roid. Actually, Alex Rodriguez may even qualify as a two-fer in this collection since either play on his nickname is appropriate.

Those dreaded steroid secrets, plus A-Rod’s own admission, make his shattered image the cornerstone of the collection.

Oh sure, I have one of those outdated Michael Phelps items. But he’s old news. What’s a little smoke compared to a full-blown brushfire?

In fact, if they ever get around to figuring out who “outed” A-Rod, somebody might want to check out Phelps’ agent. There’s nothing like snagging a bigger fish to get a struggling sports star off the hook.

Actually, I’ve got a vintage assemblage of fallen sports “angels.” Got the original Pete Rose from the days when the first gambling accusations started flying. That beats the heck out of many faces of Rose that have surfaced since. You know, the defiant Pete from when they kicked him out of baseball and the sort of contrite Rose from years later when he finally fessed up that he bet on his own sport. But it would be nice to have the Pete who goes to Cooperstown to sign autographs just down the street from the Hall of Fame they’ll never let him join.

Yeah, maybe a real collector would have something older and more rare on his shelf. Maybe a “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, the most remembered part of the Chicago Black Sox scandal. But you can’t really covet an idol who was before your time. How do you idolize someone if you can’t even figure out what his accomplishments were?

Now I do have a Ty Cobb from way back. But I’m not sure he qualifies as a collectible. After all, the information we have now shows the great ballplayer was a totally miserable human being. But in a less pious and talk-show-saturated age, Cobb managed to get himself elected to the Hall of Fame before the morality clause kicked in. So can an idol really be tarnished when the revelations come so long after he died that nobody really cares?

Well anyway, I’ve pretty much cornered the modern-era market. I’ve got the matched set Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa memories from the time they were exciting everybody with their homer duel down the stretch. My set has a bit of added value because I was on an Odessa Chuck Wagon trip to Ukraine during the heat of that battle and went to some extraordinary lengths to keep up with the developments.

Sure, I’ve got a Barry Bonds, too. But that’s no big deal. I mean, who didn’t stop long enough to pick up on the home run king who nobody will acknowledge? The true treasure would be the Bonds who is falling off his throne, except nobody’s willing to admit that he had a lofty perch to begin with.

Roger Clemens? Of course. But that was a gimmie because my Clemens is self-tarnishing. You know, you squeeze his over-inflated head, and he turns moldy right before your eyes.

The real genius in getting into the fallen idol market is that the entire collection exists in your own mind. This is opposed to all those real collectibles from the aforementioned sports heroes that just have to be tossed into a dark, crowded closet because the bottom has fallen out of the market.

Have I forgotten any of my biggies? Oh yeah, there’s O.J. But that’s just a case of out of sight, out of mind.

Odessa, TX

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