Cameron Hughes is an inspiration to underemployed young men everywhere. He's one of those guys who just did what he loved and the money followed. Cameron Hughes found a way to get paid to be the obnoxious, high-spirited guy at the ballpark.

Portfolio Magazine just profiled Hughes, who has somehow parlayed his merry sports antics into cash--and lots of it. Teams like the L.A. Dodgers and Toronto Blue Jays pay him about $2,000 a game to go in and whoop the crowd up. Hughes started as a fan and was a mascot in college. He was spotted at a game, got an agent, then word spread in the sports world.

For the teams, this all smacks of desperation--both in having to hire a fan and in outsourcing the job to a guy from Los Angeles. It's like having a professional mourner at a funeral or paying an escort to go with you to your high school reunion. I don't think we'll ever hear of the Chicago Cubs having to hire a super fan like Hughes to sit in the bleachers.

Couldn't the teams find any local yahoo talent? Did the Yankees have to pay Ari Ramirez, the original cow bell man? Are they paying Frying Pan Man now? (I doubt it or he wouldn't be trying to sell a $25 books of Yankees poetry, stories and pictures.) Are the Mets forking over anything to their current Cow-Bell Man, Eddie Boison? I also have to wonder if giving out $2,000 worth of beer would create as much cheer. Maybe some entrepreneurial kids should start getting themselves noticed at sleepy ballparks this summer and see if they end up with a job.

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