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Scam Alert: Shady "Baseball Players" Looking for Tix to Hawaii

So I just happened to be working from home yesterday afternoon when, a little before 3 p.m., there was a loud knock at the door followed by an insistent ring.

I got up to answer, and the caller seemed to be shocked to see me, and not a woman, answering the door.

The guy was white, with curly, sandy hair, and looked to be about 22 or 23. His eyes were darting all over the place as he launched into his spiel:

"I'm a baseball player, but don't hold that against me..."

"What?" I asked.

"Some of your neighbors, I mean our neighbors, because I am Dr. and Mrs Brennan's kid from over there -- " he pointed nebulously off to the southeast-- "don't seem to like baseball players for whatever reason."

"Uh huh," I answered. This kid just did not look like a baseball player, and that was a very weird thing to say. After all, I live in Timbergrove, which may be close to the Communists in the Heights, but remains a world away. All the baseball-hating hippies in the area are on the other side of Shepherd, boy-o.

But I did let the kid carry on, while noting that he was not alone. Someone was idling in our driveway in a silver-ish Ford Explorer I could only partially see.

"So yeah, don't hold that against me...Anyway, we won our tournament here locally, and now we are gonna play in Hawaii!"

"That's great," I muttered.

"But the bad part is, some of the guys on the team are kinda poor," the kid said, his eyes skittering around in his head like pachinko balls. "I can afford to go, but they can't, so I am out here in the cold raising money for them!"

At this point, I had enough. After all, earmarks for my kid's own legit lacrosse team eat up enough of my sports dollar as it is, and I told the guy so. He looked like I had stomped on his puppy's tail and walked off to the Explorer and rode off in a cloud of exhaust.

I came back to our home office and Googled the keywords "baseball," "fundraising," "scam," "Hawaii" and, lo and behold, looky here, reports of an uncannily similar scam from coast to coast...(Our favorite: the girl in Dallas who reeked of cigarettes but claimed to be a college soccer player.)

Next I called the neighborhood watch guy (who told me that Dr. Brennan didn't exist), and then the cops. A few minutes later, a patrolman arrived and said that while he would go look for the baseball player with the heart of gold, the City of Houston was no longer considering door-to-door soliciting a crime. I guess fraud would have to be proven...

Which kinda sucks, 'cause I really think these fellows might be Irish Travelers on to a new scam.


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