I got sent this great article from the Star but they archive stuff for about 5 minutes so I wanted to copy it here so I could find it again.
There were a couple links of interest, this one former major-leaguer CJ Nitkowski’s highly entertaining blog details his new life playing with Japan’s Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks. Whether it’s eating Shabu-Shabu for the first time or going grocery shopping: “Most of the time I don’t even know what I am looking at. What I do know is that never in my life have I ever seen small dried-up fish in a clear plastic bag. Not before today, that is.”
Then the guy the article is about has his page here.
And the article itself:
The letters, like the emails and packages with baseballs and photos, pour in daily.
Then there are cards to mail out, items to sign, a blog to update, and a message board to moderate.
Being the boss of a small online empire is a demanding job. Especially when after work, you have to pitch to Sammy Sosa with the game on the line.
Such is life for Internet impresario Pat Neshek, who works almost as hard at his hobby as he does his paid profession — relief pitcher with the Minnesota Twins.
"I always wanted to know what pro athletes did before games, on off days and in their spare time so I said if I ever got drafted I would start a website," says Neshek via email his preferred mode of communication.
The reliever's site — On The Road with Pat Neshek — started in 2004 when he was in the minors and features one of his favourite pursuits: collecting sports memorabilia.
"One of these days though, I might have to look into insuring (my cards)," says the right-hander, adding to his lengthy to-do list.
He updates his blog regularly, often lamenting his internet connection on the road.
Read the site and you'll learn tonight's trip to the Rogers Centre with the Twins will be his first since arriving in the majors last year.
On his message board you can find threads that include blogs from former Twin and current Jays farmhand Mike Venafro (who posts as happylefty) and the Twins’ 18-year-old batboy, Adam Hanson (twinsbb17).
The majority of Neshek's posts deal honestly with the minutiae of his life in the majors — the gruelling schedule, a packed subway ride to Shea Stadium and how his family will room with him on the road if they can find cheap airfare to wherever he's playing.
It's not exactly a life of caviar and Cristal — and that's a large part of Neshek's charm.
"He just seems like me, except that he can throw 90 miles an hour," says fan and fellow card collector Dan Rosendahl, 33, who has been following the site since 2004 from his home in Denton, Tex.
Neshek's an average Joe who still, in the off-season, will hang out at Minnesota Wild games to collect autographs from hockey players.
"I thought (Pittsburgh Penguin) Georges Laraque was being rude one time because he signed my card and only put his initials," says Neshek. "He did it for every other collector there (and) we were all mad. Turns out that is how he signs every time, he stops, takes his time and signs every card the same way."
His passion for sports is refreshing. Unlike Barry Bonds or Curt Schilling, who use the Internet to sidestep the media, Neshek appears sincere.
"I really don't know how to describe this but I'm the fan/collector/guy that somehow managed to get to the big leagues," writes Neshek on his blog.
He has used the Internet to his advantage. When nominated for the major league All-Star Game Final Vote, the sidearm hurler put out a call to the Neshek Nation and fans rallied around the "Pitch in for Pat" campaign, though he eventually lost to Boston's Hideki Okajima.
The 26-year-old has also turned his site into a barter-based cottage industry of collectables.
"(Send) any signed hockey card or baseball player card with (a self addressed stamped envelope) to me and I will put one of my signed cards in," says Neshek.
And though Neshek prefers cards of the sporting variety, he’s open to accept anything.
"Someone from Manitoba sent me a 1970's Village People card signed by a couple of the members, that made me laugh," says Neshek. "You see a lot of different things, old baseball players that are hard to find, hockey players that are deceased — you never know what is going to come in."
He says he gets more mail than anyone else on the Twins and it usually takes an hour or two to sift through it, but it’s an adventure, like the time someone mysterious sent him a microchip without explanation.
"Didn’t know what it was or if it was a tracking device so I tossed it in the garbage," says Neshek. The Brooklyn Park, Minn., native says he's 'lost count' of how many cards he has with many of his new trades going into a box until he can catalogue them in the off-season.
All of which are currently uninsured.
"If they were all lost to a fire tomorrow I would start up a new collection," says Neshek. "It's more about the thrill than the value to me."And this side post, which I liked better than the article: