Monday, April 21, 2008

David Eckstein Really Just A Kid Filming A New Disney Baseball Movie

Toronto, ON. (Apr. 21) - Major League Baseball this morning is trying to determine how to handle the news over the weekend that pint-sized, scrappy infielder David Eckstein is really a 14-year-old youngster filming scenes for an upcoming Disney baseball movie.

Eckstein, whose real name is Patrick Mathews, has been working on the flick -- working title The Whiz Kid -- since the 2006 season, when his depiction of a big league ballplayer was so realistic that he won the World Series MVP Award. Footage from the Series and moments from the 2007 and 2008 seasons will be used in The Whiz Kid -- an inspirational fantasy of what would happen if an Attention Deficit Disordered kid had the moxy and baseball skills to become a boy wonder on the diamond. Mathews, who chose the stage name "David Eckstein" by combining his father's middle name and the name of a local drugstore, beat out 56 other youngsters for the role three years ago.

Eckstein/Mathews added to the usable footage for Disney when he hit a three-run home run Sunday to help the Toronto Blue Jays defeat the Detroit Tigers, 5-3.

A then-13-year-old Mathews poses as "David Eckstein" in a photo taken by a Cardinals team photographer last year

The revelation of "Eckstein's" true identity came when a Toronto teammate spotted a working film script in the actor/infielder's locker on Saturday. Mathews was confronted Sunday morning by Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, and the teen admitted to the ruse. Mathews told team officials that a film crew had been following him for almost two years, posing as a crew working for MLB. He added that his heroics in the 2006 World Series were "unscripted", and that his performance in the Series was largely improvised. The director liked it so much, Mathews said, that it was kept in the film.

MLB officials would only say that a decision as to whether to allow Mathews to continue to play for the Blue Jays as Eckstein would be made "soon."

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