Thursday, December 20, 2007

My Autograph Cost How Much?

Are athletes responsible for knowing what their agents and representatives request on the athlete’s behalf? A recent discussion thread on the message boards dealt with Mike Piazza and his recent signing at an MAB autograph show.

Full Disclosure: I’m a Mets fan, Piazza was one of my favorite players, and I think MAB does a great job with their autograph shows. I’ve been to a few MAB shows this year and will likely go to a few more next year.

First: I think a lot of collectors were surprised by his autograph pricing. From what I remember, an autograph baseball was $200, a bat was like $400 and a jersey was $600. Inscriptions (of course) were an extra $125 and there were several restrictions on what you could or could not get signed by him.

Second: With that pricing environment established, some collectors were not happy with the attitude of some of his handlers.

Finally: That lead to string of newsgroup postings about Piazza having outrageous demands, attacks on his character, and even a few blasts at MAB who did nothing wrong except when they tried to smooth things over with a reply that Mike Piazza wasn’t even aware of some of the demands placed by his “handlers.” What?

Now, I wasn’t in the autograph room because I thought his price was too high, restrictions were too much, and I think his autograph looks like crap.

But I think it’s a crime for Piazza and other athletes to pretend they have no idea what their representatives are doing for them. Of course the athletes know what’s going on. As smart and PR savvy as some of these guys are, there’s no way they are in the dark to what their representatives are doing. And shame on the athletes for thinking we’re dumb enough to let them get away with playing ignorant so their representatives can play the bad cop role.

It’s like ARod pretending he had no idea what Scott Boras was doing. ARod hasn’t lived a day in the past 10 years where the entire agenda wasn’t scripted!

To Mike Piazza and MAB: playing ignorant isn’t an excuse, it’s a flaw.

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