Matt White is currently with the Los Angeles Dodgers minor league system. He’s a left-handed relief pitcher who’s just trying to make the big club. So why has there been all this attention focused on him lately?
(He’s) the lucky dude who bought 50 acres from his great aunt in 2003 to help cover her nursing-home care, hoping one day to build a house there. He later found some rock -- well, not just some rock, 24 million tons of highly prized rock -- that sells for around $100 a ton. On paper, and in the papers, he became the "baseball billionaire."
Certainly the estimated value of the quarry in Cummington, Mass., has a line of zeroes any pitcher would envy. Forget for a moment the huge cost of excavating the stuff and stick to the fantasy math. White's $2.4 billion windfall would place him 131st on the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans in 2006, $100 million ahead of Mark Cuban. He could buy the A's, Angels, Mariners and Rangers and turn the AL West into the AL White. Or he could purchase the Dodgers, as teammates suggested this spring, and pay himself to be the closer. The rock is worth almost 10 times more than Alex Rodriguez's record 10-year, $252 million contract. "White," Los Angeles pitcher Randy Wolf says, "should be A-Rock."
If indeed White makes the big leagues (he’s currently with the Dodgers’ Triple-A team), you can be sure some smart aleck play-by-play announcers will make witty allusions to his wealth whenever he pitches.
If White allows three straight hits and a walk:
“Even though he’s a billionaire, he couldn’t buy an out today.”
If he gives up a game-winning home run:
“Keep your chin up, Matt. You’re still wealthier than Oprah.”
Even when things go well, like striking out Barry Bonds with a nasty slider:
“The kid’s got it all: Nasty slider, good fastball…..and 2 ½ billion dollars.”
Yes, when you have that much cash I would hope you could afford a healthy sense of humor.