Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Softball Team Sponsorships Determine Economic Prosperity

Are men's softball team sponsorships just another casualty of our country's economic downturn, or could this be something more? I know, I know. . . some believe the automakers are more important, some say Wall Street money firms, and others swear that the newspaper industry should be next in line to get a bail-out.

I am not an economic genius, but I balance a checkbook, read the news, and play a pretty good Parker Bros. Monopoly. So I speak with some authority when I say that men's softball team sponsorships are the greatest barometer of our nation's economy. If a team's players have to pay $50-$100 per person to play, then our country will go bankrupt!

Scenario 1

  • If each player pays $50-$100 to pay league/umpire fees to play once a week a ripple effect begins that cannot be stopped. The $50-$100 is taken from the after game food/beverage budget. If that budget is cut, players will no longer be able to afford a drink and Buffalo wings after playing 35 minutes of intense slow-pitch softball. Hey, I have to run at least 7 times from the dugout to left-center field. . . do you have any idea what kind of energy that takes?

  • If players are not spending money at local pubs, then the local economy will be devastated. Restaurants will begin ordering less beverages from distributors and fewer wings from Tyson Farms. Food servers and bar tenders will begin making less money from a lack of tips. If this continues through the summer, some places will layoff workers, file for chapter 11, and default on loans. The banks will suffer more losses because of these loans and food distributors will begin releasing delivery men from their duties if there are not 24 packs and kegs to deliver.

  • Fewer delivery trucks mean fewer dollars in gas tax revenues for the states that can result in reduced infrastructure projects being implemented and completed. This can cause an increase in potholes, accidents, and bring repairs to everyone's vehicles.

  • The amount of former servers, bar tenders, and delivery people standing in unemployment lines could increase exponentially.

  • If fewer people are not celebrating walk-off walks and meaningless mercy rule games, then fewer drinks are being consumed. If fewer drinks are consumed, then less DWI arrests will be made resulting in fewer tickets and a decrease in revenue for local police departments. With less revenue, the police departments will be forced to reduce the number of local law enforcement officers - this will make it unsafe for your children to walk to school and cross the street.
Scenario 2

Many players will decide not to give up their after game food/beverage budget and will quit their softball team, but keep the weekly after game visits. The ripple effect from this decision will also hurt the economy.

  • If players are not burning 15 calories playing slow-pitch softball once a week, our nation's obesity rate will skyrocket! Players will continue to enjoy their 16 oz. curls and Buffalo wings, but will not have the metabolism to burn off the excess calories. This could have a damaging effect on our nation's health care systems. How many more cases of heart disease will develop because of players not playing softball? If more people have heart problems, this will increase insurance premiums for everyone in the country.

  • If leagues fold because players are not paying $50-$100, then the fields will not need to be maintained. Groundskeepers throughout country will be released from the mowing contracts. The fields will be taken over by tall grass, weeds, and area pests. Rats and nocturnal varmints will take over the fields bringing bugs and disease to anyone who tries to have a Sunday afternoon catch on the old fields. Could we be looking at another bubonic plague? Can our country afford that?

  • The increase of groundskeepers, league officials, and out-of-work umpires will result in longer lines at the unemployment office. Each state's unemployment coffers will be drained and we will be looking at an apocalypse that even Glenn Beck can't imagine.
Please help me help the economy. I have called nearly every pub and pizza place in central Ohio. Help me find a sponsor for my softball team. I am open to all suggestions. Post a comment or send me an email.

Thank you and God Bless America!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Daniel Murphy Mets - Batting 2nd This Season

Daniel Murphy might not see an off-speed pitch until August! Murphy was one of two players (Eddie Kunz the other) that I was really hoping would have a break-through spring for the NY Mets. Kunz has already been sent to the minors, but Murphy is ready to break through in a big way this season.

Today, Jerry Manuel confirmed that Murphy will not only play every day in left field, but he will also bat 2nd between Jose Reyes and David Wright.

Murphy's in great position batting in the #2 spot. He's left handed and will shield the vision of the catcher when Reyes is on first. With Reyes on base, pitchers will also throw Murphy more fastballs in order to give the catcher every opportunity to try and throw out Reyes stealing a base.

Wright batting behind Murphy will also bring more fastballs. Opposing teams are not going to want to fool around with a lot of off-speed pitches and risk putting Murphy on base ahead of Wright. If Daniel Murpy can turn on a fast ball, David Wright could be looking at a lot of 1st and 3rd situations!

I'm going to try and pick up some Murphy rookies before they get too expensive!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Mets Fans Need The Wright Stache

I'm a believer after watching this!

Friday, March 27, 2009

TTM Autograph Risks - What's Your Limit?

What's your value limit of sending autograph items through the mail (TTM)?

I recently received an email from a reader talking about getting Greg Pavlick's autograph through the mail. (And by recently I mean in 2009.) The reader also needed Pavlick's signature to complete an autograph project. I need Pavlick's autograph on my 1986 World Series baseball project.

After some correspondence with Greg Pavlick, he sent his item and in 12 days had it back and signed without shipping damage.
I'd like to try this, but I don't know if I could put that baseball in the mail. I mean, it's taken me a long time to reach this point. Do I want to risk it by sending it through the mail?

It's not that I don't trust Greg Pavlick, but I don't know if I trust the Post Office that much!

What are your thoughts? What value limit do you set for TTM items?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Meeting Norm Van Lier - Guest Blog Entry

The following blog entry is from Jamie Shields. These are his reflections from meeting Norm Van Lier - one of the all time great Chicago Bulls. Van Lier died on Feb. 26, 2009 at 61.

"Van Lier is remembered as one of the all time greats to wear a Chicago Bulls uniform. He was well known as a fiery competitor who set a standard for defense and toughness. My first and only opportunity to meet Van Lier was during a Chicago Sun Times Collectors Convention in November 2007.

Within moments of meeting him he impressed upon me an overwhelming positive attitude and a willingness to chat about anything Bulls. Van Lier attempted to pass a little of his positive outlook onto each collector by including a smiley face to the end of his signature. He will be truly missed."

If you've had an encounter with a player who has moved on to the Field of Dreams and want to share your thoughts, please post a comment here or email your story to me. I'll post it on the blog, just like this one from Jamie Shields.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Steelers' James Harrison Tops Autograph Tickets

James Harrison finished #1 on the CSA Shows autograph ticket list this weekend. CSA's quarterly show featured anyone who walked through the state of Pennsylvania.

Well, maybe not quite but the majority of their guests this weekend were from the Pittsburgh Steelers. I usually try to attend this show, but CSA went a bit too far too often with the yellow and black theme. In the past year, they've had plenty of current and former Steeler guests at their shows, but this one was even too much for me.

I'm hoping the next one has a bit more diversity and has some athletes that haven't been to CSA in the last 12 months. The next show is scheduled for July 10-12.

John Elway was the most signer - $225 for a premium item autograph and $100 for an inscription (HOF, SB Champ, etc). I guess the recession doesn't hit everyone after all! I think Y.A. Tittle had the best deal with $45 for any item and one free inscription. Click here to see all the prices at the show.

Harrison was followed by LaMarr Woodley and James Farrior on the most popular list. Here is the complete list of most purchased autograph tickets:

  1. James Harrison
  2. LaMarr Woodley
  3. James Farrior
  4. Hines Ward
  5. Rod Woodson
  6. Heath Miller
  7. Jim Taylor
  8. Willie Parker
  9. Lawrence Timmons
  10. John Riggins
  11. Jerome Bettis
  12. Bart Starr
  13. Joe Greene
  14. Alexander Ovechkin
  15. Bill Dudley
  16. John Elway
  17. Lawrence Taylor
  18. Ricky Williams
  19. Michael Strahan
  20. Greg Lloyd
  21. Mike Green
  22. Rocky Bleier
  23. Joe Belllino
  24. Willie Davis
  25. Alexander Semin
  26. Paul Hornung
  27. Herb Adderley
  28. Y.A. Tittle
  29. Niklas Backstrom
  30. Donald Brashear
  31. Chris Cooley
  32. Antwaan Randle El
  33. Darius Heyward-Bey
  34. DeAngelo Williams
  35. Rashaan Salaam
  36. Willie Wood

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

George Kell - Hall of Fame Collection

In May 2007 I met George Kell at an MAB show in New Jersey. I talked about my brief meeting with George Kell earlier and I can't say enough how nice of a person he was.

Here are the photos of my autograph baseball and of George Kell signing it.

George Kell Dies - HOF Baseball Gentleman

Baseball Hall of Famer George Kell died Tuesday in Arkansas. I don't know Kell the player, I know Kell the Tigers announcer and Kell the gentleman.

When I moved to the Midwest 20 years ago, George Kell was one of the first baseball voices I heard. I would watch and listen to his broadcasts of Tigers games with Al Kaline. Kell's southern accent and easy going style made watching Tigers games fun during a time when Tigers baseball wasn't that great to watch.

Two years ago I met George Kell the gentleman. I met him while I was at an MAB Show in New Jersey. I was waiting in line and talking to other collectors when George Kell stopped by and talked to us. He shook everyone's hand, asked how we were all doing, and talked for a few minutes before making his way to the autograph tables. He didn't have to do that. He didn't have to say hello and he didn't have to stop and talk. But that's not who George Kell was.

I didn't plan on getting his autograph that day, but after meeting him I changed my mind. I went back to the cashier station and bought an autograph ticket for this grandfather figure. George Kell wasn't my favorite player and he wasn't on my favorite team, but it didn't matter. On that day he became one of my favorite hall of fame players and I'm fortunate to have his autograph on a baseball.

Monday, March 23, 2009

How Far Will You Drive for an Autograph?

That was my question this weekend. Originally I thought about doing a quick trip to Chicago for the Chicago Sun Times Show. It had been a while since I went to a card show and I'd like to get Mike Ditka's autograph.

I decided not to go because of the drive. It's about 10 hours in the car round trip. Am I crazy for not going or crazy for thinking about it?

How far will you drive for an autograph?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Lee Lowenfish Book Event - Branch Rickey

If you like baseball and baseball history, the Lee Lowenfish book event on Wednesday, March 18 was perfect!

Lowenfish is the author of Branch Rickey, Baseball's Ferocious Gentleman. I started reading the book last month and it is amazing! Lowenfish, a member of SABR, and does an excellent job telling the story of Branch Rickey from his roots in southern Ohio and beyond his days in Brooklyn.

I arrived a few minutes early and was able to talk to him for a good ten minutes before the event began. I talked about my favorite parts of the book and he talked about the Jackie Robinson Foundation dinner he attended a few nights before.

Being a few minutes early also gave me the chance to meet Rick Huhn who wrote books on George Sisler and Eddie Collins. Rick was also at the event to talk to Lee Lowenfish. Rick was very nice and easy to talk to. I'd like to read his books next. I even asked him if he planned on coming in town for an author event. Hopefully next spring the book store will have one with him.

When the event began he read a few pages from his book with some commentary and then answered some audience questions. He followed that pattern again before wrapping up to sign copies for people.

Some of the questions:
Q: Did Rickey bring Jackie Robinson to the majors because he wanted to see the social change or because he thought it would be profitable.
A: Lowenfish thought it was both and gave great examples of why. Even during Rickey's time as an Ohio Wesleyan University coach he could see society's injustices.

Q: What baseball executive is like Rickey today?
A: He didn't think there was one completely, but he thought Billy Beane's eye for talent and ability to trade a player a year early instead of a year late was very similar to Rickey's style. While Lowenfish thought Rickey would have embraced the Internet age, he didn't think he would be the same with stats that Beane is.

Q: Next baseball project?
A: There really isn't one at the moment. He's doing a lot of work with SABR and his Columbia University program.

I also commented that I enjoyed reading the Dizzy Dean and Branch Rickey battles when he was with St. Louis. Lowenfish talked for a while about that subject.

Overall, the event lasted a little about 90 minutes. It would have been over sooner if there weren't so many questions from the audience, but I'm fine with that. Especially since I was the one who asked 5 of the 7 questions! It was really was a great experience.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Branch Rickey Book Event - Lee Lowenfish

Author Lee Lowenfish has a book event Wednesday night at a Barnes and Noble in my area. Lowenfish is signing copies and speaking about, "Branch Rickey: Baseball's Ferocious Gentleman."

I started reading this book when I blogged about it last month. So far the book is awesome. It is 600+ pages so I'm only about half way through it. I knew about Rickey's work to start farm teams, spring trainings, and bring Jackie Robinson to the majors, but I didn't know how great a talent evaluator he was or about his time in southern Ohio and Ohio Wesleyan.

I want to ask Lee Lowenfish, "who in the majors today is most like Branch Rickey?" I'll have a recap and some photos tomorrow.

What else should I ask the author?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Johnny Evers Interview Coming Soon?

I'm hoping to have a little interview with Johnny Evers, the great, great nephew of Cubs Hall of Famer Johnny Evers.

Last year I wrote a guest blogger article on Beckett about the 100 year anniversary of the Fred Merkle boner play. That play helped the Cubs get to the World Series and eventually win it. Johnny Evers played a huge role in that game.

Since that article, I've talked to Johnny Evers via email a couple of times about the baseball from that game.

I sent Johnny Evers an email last week with some questions about the baseball, cards, and Johnny Evers. I'm hoping to get some answers soon so I can post it here as a Q&A.

What a great way to start the baseball season!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Catcher's Autograph Show: Bench, Piazza, Fisk and More!

MAB Celebrity Services announced this week their November autograph show will be a catcher's themed show.

I really enjoy the MAB themed show (of course they have a lot of Mets at their shows), but they do a great job of getting some of the hard to find guests. Earlier this year they had Hideki Irabu at a Yankees show. How do you spell "fat toad" in Japanese???

Not only could this show have great guests, but you could really get some cool items signed. You could get autographs on a catcher's mask, chest protector, or shin guard! Now that could look pretty cool framed and hanging on a wall.

MAB will probably start off with an initial guest list of 4-5 to get the attention of everyone and the rest will start to pour in around September. You can get updates if you have a SigningsHotline.com account or check the MAB web site.

My wish list is: Mike Piazza, Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk, Jerry Grote, Bob Boone, Todd Hundley, Gary Carter, and Mike Scioscia.

Who would you want to see there?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Mets Reliever Eddie Kunz Optioned

The control of Eddie Kunz is still a major concern of Mets coaches this spring. Control problems ended his call-up last summer and has ended his spring training flirt with the Mets.

Eddie Kunz was one of the Mets I was watching this spring. He has great stuff if he can ever consistently figure out that thing called a "strike zone!" Kunz was optioned to the minors. I imagine he'll land in Buffalo... the new AAA franchise of the NY Mets.

I still think Kunz is the future 8th inning answer for the Mets. It may not happen in 2009, but 2010?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

$317,200 for First Comic Featuring Superman

For $317,200 you too can own an excellent conditioned Action Comics #1. System of a Down drummer, John Dolmayan, made the winning bid last night during the internet auction.

Action Comics #1 first introduced to Superman in 1938. There are only around 100 copies of Action Comics No. 1 known to exist.

Check out http://www.comicconnect.com/ for more on the comic's relevance in the hobby. I blogged about this auction last month.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Talking about The National on facebook

It's time to get more involved and build The National facebook community.

The National Sports Collectors Convention (the National) will be here before we know it! Here is the facebook link: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/group.php?gid=58419308120

I'm asking everyone to do 2 of the following:

  • Send the link to 6 of your friends.
  • Post the link on your blog (if you have one)
  • Post the link on your favorite trading card board

It's not asking that much. I'm not exactly turning a profit on a facebook group! :) If you have a blog, put a link on your home page - don't just bury it in a posting. If you have some friends that also collect cards, then send them link. And if you do some sports card trading, then add the link to a post or to your signature line.

I don't know if it's a lack card shows, spring is almost here or what, but I'm really looking forward to this year's National.

Thanks for your help!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Roy Williams Autographs

In the wake of the TO news last week, Dallas also cut ties with one of their most popular players in the last 10 years. Roy Williams was cut by the Cowboys.

Roy bridged the gap of stars between Emmitt Smith and Tony Romo/Marion Barber. He was a hard hitting strong safety, who according to Bill Parcells was "one biscuit short of being a LB."

I liked Roy Williams because he wanted to be a Cowboy prior to be drafted from OU and was eager to learn from Darren Woodson - the teams' all-time leading tackler and current safety when Williams was drafted.

His Cowboys career started strong. He started every game his first five seasons, caused turnovers, played on 5 pro-bowl teams, and seemed to always be around the football. Then in 2007 he started missing snaps because of his poor coverage techniques and in 2008 he missed 14 games with a broken forearm.

Some have speculated that the Williams situation went south after signing a contract extension.

I'm sorry to see Roy go, but I'm hopeful Dallas can find a new SS in this year's draft. Roy - Thanks for the memories and good luck in the free agent market.

Here I've pictured my Roy Williams Cowboys jersey, an autographed mini helmet, and an autographed Oklahoma helmet. The autographs were obtained in person at the Super Bowl XLII Fan Fest.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Topps 3D Cards Come to Life Today

Is this the game changer Topps was looking for?

Today, Topps rolls out their 3D Live baseball card. Just hold it in front of a webcam and you'll see a 3D avatar of the player. Sounds pretty cool. Rotate the card in your hand and the image rotates as well.

The card codes are found in packs of Topps 2009 Baseball Series 1. Go to www.toppsstown.com, enter the code, select the player and hold it up to the web cam. This probably isn't so cool to the autograph or jersey card collector, but I think it's a good way to get more kids involved. What's next for this technology?

  • Could you have multiple players on the screen/desk?
  • Could you have players playing a game?
  • Can they speak?
  • Will we get classic video from great plays of the past? I'm thinking Kirk Gibson '88 home run trot and Mookie Wilson's slow roller to second!
With layoffs happening at card companies, authentication issues at others, it's nice to see a change in the industry that doesn't involve some kind of scandal.

You can read more about it here and here.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Texas Stadium Seats Memorabilia

Thanks for the guesses on the giant memorabilia close. You were close, but the 95lb box contained two Texas Stadium seats! This is easily the biggest and heaviest piece of memorabilia that I have.

This year I had to choose between Shea Stadium seats and Texas Stadium seats. I don't have the room or budget for both. I went with Texas Stadium because I've been a Cowboys fan longer and the seats were cheaper than Shea's. Although I'm still hoping I can talk my wife into getting Shea seats somewhere this summer as long as the economy doesn't go in the tank and I keep my job!

I really like that the seats are #s 1 and 2 and have Row 2 on the side of one of them, but where are the cup holders!? In the next week or so I should get the COA from Texas Stadium and a map of where the seats were taken.

Right now the seats are connected to a piece of particle board, but I've ordered some seat feat so they'll look better and be more sturdy. The seat didn't come with actual "feet" because the frame connects to the concrete in the stadium.

I'll shine the seats up a bit, but I don't think I'll do any refinishing. I like keeping them as is - yeah, the natural look!

Now I can boo TO, cry every time Romo throws another interception, and ask my wife to wear a pink Romo jersey like Jessica Simpson from my own Texas Stadium seat.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Name the Sports Memorabilia

Name this piece of sports memorabilia!

A new piece of my collection arrived at my front door this afternoon!
What is it?

Any guesses?

T.O. Don't the let the Valley Ranch Door Hit You on the Way Out

I've been Cowboys fan since the first grade because of family and I've hated the TO signing since day 1. George Teague is a better Dallas Cowboy because of his "get the f--- off my star" shove.

Michael Smith brought more happiness to me last night on ESPN than a grown man should.

Owens cut! Nuf ced.

My wish list for a replacement is:
1. Marvin Harrison
2. Marvin Harrison
3. Marvin Harrison

If you learned anything during the signing of TO, you knew that Jerry doesn't make one move until he has another ready. He cut Keyshawn, but not until he had TO basically locked up. Jerry's next move is coming out soon... I'm just hoping it's Marvin!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Mr. T - I Pitty Pete Rose the Fool

I guess Mr. T isn't even a Pete Rose fan!

Mr. T, speaking in the UK during his "Get Some Nuts" promotional tour , said he turned down the WWE's offer to go in their Hall of Fame because Pete Rose was put in before him.

"WWE asked me to be in the Hall of Fame and I turned it down. You know why? They put Pete Rose in the wrestling Hall of Fame. This guy can't even get into his own Hall of Fame."

How low on the celebrity totem pole have you dropped when you're complaining about other celebrities being inducted into the professional wrestling hall of fame? I'd expect this of Andy Dick, not Mr. T!
Why doesn't this guy have a reality TV show yet? I'm thinking Mr. T could be:

  • The next Bachelor
  • Celebrity Apprentice
  • Date My Mom
  • VH1 Chance of Love with Mr. T
  • Iron Chef
  • Joe Millionaire

Monday, March 2, 2009

The National Tickets on Sale

Tickets to the National Sports Card Convention are on sale now. Thanks to Sports Card Info for blogging about this.

The National is selling general admission, VIP tickets and Super VIP tickets.

So far they've announced that Troy Aikman, Joe Montana, and Bruce Smith will be signing autographs.

Don't forget to check out The National group if you do the Facebook thing.

Mike Ditka Autograph Quest

The Chicago Sun Times March show has changed the autograph signing time for Mike Ditka to Sunday, March 22. Da Coach was scheduled for Friday and that meant there was no way for me to get him. Now this new autograph time opens the door to that possibility!

My plan is to make Chicago a day-trip.

I've been trying to catch Ditka at autograph show to get Iron Mike to sign my Super Bowl VI Dallas Cowboys helmet. In 1971, Ditka was a tight end for the Cowboys and caught a touchdown in their Super Bowl VI 24-3 win over the Miami Dolphins. He finished tied for the most receiving yards in the game for Dallas.

Mike Ditka played with Dallas for four seasons before moving into Tom Landry's coaching staff. Ditka was a coach on Landry's Super Bowl XII team that beat Denver.