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Fantasy camp? Priceless


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(Original publication: February 7, 2006)

Mike Haber of New City was intently watching Mike Pagliarulo, studying his every move.

It was January, and Haber was mesmerized watching the former Yankees third baseman at a fantasy camp in Tampa, Fla.

"It was amazing how he did that," Haber said.

But what impressed Haber most wasn't Pagliarulo's glove work around third or his batting prowess.

It was another baseball art: How to eat sunflower seeds.

Haber sat next to Pagliarulo on the bench and watched him shove a handful into one side of his mouth, bite the seed and swallow the goods, and then spit out the shells rapid-fire.

Can you think of a better way to spend 5 grand?

About a dozen area men last month wrote checks to the Yankees

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I'm definitely going to do a camp like that one day. Two autographed Yankee pictures on my wall...Mattingly, and Pags. He's the reason I played 3B from little league throughout HS. I LOVED the way he played the game and the man had some great range at the hot corner. He also went yard twice at my first Yankee game when I was 11 years old.

He's such a decent guy that sometimes it's hard to believe he's from MA

A lot of cash but I'll do it eventually.

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My best friend went to fantasy camp back in November for his 40th birthday.

Said it was the best five grand he ever spent.

Great story. My best friend is a big guy probably about 250-260. He is in the clubhouse wearing a Grateful Dead tye dye. They hold "Kangaroo Court" every morning with Joe Pepitone and Mickey Rivers serving as the judges. They fine him 25 dollars for impersonating a hot air balloon.

Hysterical. I saw that on Yankee Magazine and almost fell out off the couch laughing so hard.

It was all in good fun though. Money collected during the week went to the Catfish Hunter cancer foundation.

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A couple of weeks ago, I'm having a drink after work, and there's all these fat guys walking around in Yankee gear. Yes, it's fantasy camp time. I understand that you're living out a childhood dream, and you just met Mickey Rivers, but that doesn't give you the right to be an *******. Those fantasy camp guys are the rudest, most obnoxious ****s I've ever met.

That said, as much as I hate to admit it, the players are fantastic people. Especially Pags. I had a drink with him and Leyritz, they wanted to talk about anything but the Yankees. I was more than happy to comply.

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