Sunday, May 31, 2009

Harvey Haddix 50 Yr. Anniversary - Not in the Cards

Can a museum really sell out of tickets? Apparently so.

I planned to attend the Clark County Historical Society's 50 Year Anniversary Celebration for Harvey Haddix. Thanks to Phungo for the heads-up last week.

Haddix pitched 12 1/3 innings of perfect baseball 50 years ago and is from the Springfield, Ohio area. The historical society was having some artifacts, guest speakers and such. I called Friday for more information and I was informed they were sold out?! WHAT?

How does a museum sell out? Think about - a non-profit organization, in a recession, is selling out of tickets? If you're a non-profit (or profit in this economy) you should never sell out of anything. You're leaving money on the table! Either move the event to a bigger venue or charge more money.

So... (yes I'm still grumpy about this), I planned to take the family and spend the afternoon in Springfield getting closer to baseball history and could not go because they stopped selling tickets! Amazing.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

James Earl Ray or James Earl Jones?

You can't spell "pissed away" with P-S-A.

PSA/DNA certified this James Earl Jones autograh for an auction at Historical Auctions in Florida. The only problem, it's a James Earl Ray autograph!
One James Earl speaks at Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations in Lauderhill, Florida to honor the hero. The other James Earl died in prison while servicing his sentence for shooting Martin Luther King Jr. That's a fairly significant difference between the two men. You would think an autograph authenticator would know the difference.

Thanks to autograph alert for the story an image.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Pro Football Hall of Fame - Clueless Book Signing

What's the #1 marketing goal for a museum? To sell memberships!

How do you sell memberships? You create more sales by bringing as many people as you can to your museum and providing the best possible experience for them. I have 4 great was the HOF can sell more memberships.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio is missing a great opportunity for people to visit their museum, buy a membership and keep coming back.
I received an email from the HOF this week about the Tony Dungy book signing and was excited to take the family. I'm not a huge Tony Dungy fan, I don't follow the Colts or Buccaneers, but I thought this would be a great experience, until I read more about the event and called the Hall of Fame.

The "free" Tony Dungy book signing event next week isn't free at all. To to get a Tony Dungy signature you must do the following:
  • Pay $10-$15 to get into the Museum store (paying to get in a store?).
  • Pay $15-$29 for one of Tony Dungy's books at their museum store (the books are $10 cheaper online).

I've been to several book signings and I have never been charged to:
1) walk through the doors of the store and
2) buy the book from them if I already have it.

The stores and museums I've been to for these events understand their goal is to bring people into the store/museum and get new memberships - not make a few dollars on a book or entrance into the store.

Four great ways they can sell more memberships! Think how much better would my experience be if:
  1. Entrance to the museum and book store was free while Tony Dungy was signing
  2. I could bring my own copy of Tony Dungy's book to get signed
  3. They offered a 10% discount to become a Hall of Fame Insider Club member
  4. Give all members first in line access to the Dungy book signing
Bring people in and show them a good time and you'll have loyal customers for life.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Autograph Alert - Is SCD DOA?

The fall-out over a Sports Collector's Digest possible conflict of interest continues. Autograph Alert continues the pressure.

SCD could have answered the questions on their forum and on their blog, but they decided to cut-off the debate by not allowing comments on their blog. Stopping comments/questions on your site does not end the discussion, it moves it. The discussion has moved to Autograph Alert, Voice of the Collector and Sports Rings.

I asked TS earlier this week to reconsider and allow comments again, but this hasn't happened yet. They need to get their arms around the situation and begin to answer questions from their customers.

Mounted Memories Football Hall of Fame Show

Say it ain't so! Mounted Memories is once again running the autograph session at the Football Hall of Fame this summer.

Their shows web site has "Canton Induction Weekend" listed as an "upcoming signing." Mounted Memories has run the autograph shows the last 4 years and in the process, has priced out the average collector.

The football HOF previously had "tent sessions" where you could you buy one ticket and get multiple autographs of Hall of Famers in the tents. Since MountedMemories was outsourced as the autograph vendor, the tent sessions have ended and prices have spiked. Fortunately, some Canton malls have autograph sessions throughout the weekend with prices for the average collector. Two years ago, Art Donovan was signing at one of the malls where he signed my 1952 Dallas Texans helmet. He was awesome and worth the $25!

Hopefully, the local malls will come through again with some great guests.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

My First 1/1 Card and it's David Ortiz!

I've been a card collector forever, but I finally received my first 1/1 card! I don't open too many new (overpriced) packs anymore which could explain why it's taken me this long to get a 1/1.

I got this David Ortiz 1/1 sketch card from 2009 Topps - my redemption came in this week. I like the sketch cards, I think they look cool - I just wish it was a player I liked more. At least I have a good friend who's a Sox fan and will appreciate it.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sports Collector's Digest - See No Evil

This week T.S. O'Connell from Sports Collector's Digest turned off the comments on his Infield Dirt blog. That's not a typo - he turned off comments on his blog. [Major credit to Voice of the Collector for being the first to blog about this change.]

This just in . . . it's not a blog, if you don't allow comments.

I have emailed T.S. in the past (and did yesterday asking about this) - I think he's someone that really cares about the hobby, but playing the "hear no evil/see no evil" game doesn't help things.

Online "commentary" isn't flawed as the title of T.S.' blog post states. The flaw occurs in how corporations use it. Companies engage in social media to bring them closer to the customers. To hear their voice, get their feedback, and have a conversation with the people who pay their salaries. Blogging is social media - if you aren't listening then you're just another web site or medium.

My social media soap box:
It's the rise of social media like blogs, facebook, and twitter that has taught companies to listen to their customers and that customers like to be heard. Don't run away from comments, encourage feedback and use it to gather precious data about your customer's preferences. Use the feedback tool as a way to show them how much you respect their opinions and appreciate the time they dedicate to sharing it with you.

My advice to T.S. - allow the comments, moderate them before posting if you must (I have to do that now because of spam) and have a conversation with your customers.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Best Baseball Autograph Inscriptions

I've always said, it's the inscription that can really make an autograph baseball unique. This Mickey Mantle one is the best... no wonder the family paid $2,700 for it and deny it is real.

Here's a cool story of some of the more memorable baseball autograph inscriptions out there.

Here are some I'd like to see!
- I'm sorry I took fertility drugs - Manny Ramirez

- I'm sorry for everything Jeter ever said about me - Alex Rodriguez

- F--- Face - Billy Ripken

- Nolan - I'm sorry I charged the mound - Robin Ventura

- Robin - I'm sorry I pounded on your face - N. Ryan

Thanks BBTF.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Beckett's Hobby Hook-up and the Awkward Pillow Talk

Beckett's Hobby Hook Up was a one night fling.

Beckett confirmed with me yesterday that due to feedback, the scheduled romance with Leah Shafer would not continue. Last month Beckett Media announced the "Hobby Hook Up" on their blog and the majority of the comments on their blog and this one seemed to be against the idea.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Blogs with Balls Conference

If it's the future of media and about blogging, then why is it an in-person event instead of a virtual event?

"Blogs with Balls" is an expo to talk about the future of sports media. It's $50, but if you're in the New York area, it might be cool to check out. Yes, I'm stuck on a new media expo needing to be an in-person event - I'll get over it.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Baseball Card Movie - Summer Blockbuster?

If you like all the box break videos, this little movie might be for you. What do you think?

Thanks to Awful Announcing and BBTF for the link.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sports Locker Blog Influencing The National

People with The National are following this blog and I think it's great. Thanks for following everyone.

For months I've been emailing and calling folks at the National and asking them to join the facebook group I created. Facebook groups are great ways for corporations to keep a conversation going with people who really want more information and to share their experiences with people who have their same passion. (If you want more information about social media marketing, follow me on Twitter.)

The National never responded to my emails or phone calls . . . until I checked out their home page. Apparently, they thought it was a great idea to get in the game too so they started their own fan page on facebook to post press releases. It's not exactly the social part of social marketing, but it's a step in the right direction.

I think it's great whenever a company moves where their customers are talking about them. I'm not sure they understand the "social" part in social marketing otherwise they would have joined the page already created and answered my emails but I've learned that changes to social media take time. This is a good step for them.

So if you want a recap on their press releases, join their group. If you want to talk about the show, the autograph guest list (yawn so far), and share pictures, then join this facebook group.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Super Bowl XLIV Experience CXL?

No more NFL Super Bowl Experience?! Fans in south Florida (home of his year's big game) must be upset over this.

The Beckett Blog reported this week the Super Bowl Experience for XLIV (44 if you're not Roman) has been canceled!

I've been to two of the SB Experiences and they are awesome. The Topps Card show is good, the autograph pavilion is run like a 3-ring circus most of the time, but the autographs are free, and there is so much to do there. I have picked up quite a few autographs at the shows including Todd McFarlane, Larry Johnson, Braylon Edwards, Chad Johnson, Roy Williams, and Archie Manning (pictured here in Arizona).

I emailed the NFL on Tuesday to get confirmation that the card show and Experience was canceled. I'll add to this post once I get a reply.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Let Me Spell it Out for You: R-S-S

All bloggers need this and all blog readers should have this. I'm talking about an RSS reader.

What is RSS? It's "a format for delivering regularly changing web content. Many news-related sites, weblogs and other online publishers syndicate their content as an RSS Feed to whoever wants it."

As a reader of blogs, it's great to fire up the RSS reader to pull the newest content. It saves me a ton of time from having to check each site and see what is new. Most blogs have the RSS icon in the corner so you can easily subscribe.

For bloggers: You need to have an RSS reader - it should be a prerequisite to starting a blog. Too many bloggers are publishing the same content as other friends on the blog rolls. Ironically, the same bloggers that get pissed at magazine companies are usually the most guilty. No one's perfect, I know I've made plenty of netiquitte mistakes, but we need to do a better job. Taking a quick glance at the SportsCards Unscensored blogroll before you post something doesn't count. They have a great blog roll, but I'm pretty sure everyone is aware of the google blog roll delays.

There are plenty of free RSS readers to choose from. I use the JetBrains Omea Reader, but there are a ton of others. Here's a top 10 list of the free ones you can download. Take a few minutes to check it out, learn it, and start using it.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

2009 Press Pass B.J. Raji - Sore vs. Soar

Check out the 2009 Press Pass inscription from the newest Green Bay Packer, B.J. Raji - "Sore Eagles" instead of "Soar Eagles." BRILLIANT!

The card is being sold on eBay with a bid price of $180 (as of this posting).

Thanks Deadspin

LeBron James Signing at The National?

I'm still waiting for the "wow" autograph guest from TriStar to be announced. LeBron James would be perfect!

Sure, this National has Troy Aikman, Joe Montana, Jim Brown, and Gayle Sayers but these guys have been around the autograph block more than a few times. I want someone new, someone exciting and someone "wow." What guest could TriStar bring who hasn't been at numerous shows in the last year?

LeBron James! He's the face of the NBA, the league MVP, and is probably more important to the city of Cleveland than anyone today. Imagine the excitement and crowds if King James were signing autographs? That's who the TriStar needs to bring in.

OK - it's a long shot, I know. So here are some other guests that would be "wow" guests:
  • Jose Canceco
  • Kirk Radomski
  • Selena Roberts
  • Bill Cowher
  • John Madden
I wouldn't mind seeing some popular baseball authors from the past year too.

I'm looking forward to the National, but I'm getting a little nervous that this one won't be any different than the show in Cleveland a couple of years ago. Maybe it's just me, but in the middle of recession, I'm a little more careful with my hobby dollars. I'm guessing others are like this too. We're about 9 weeks away - so I guess we'll find out soon.

Don't forget to join The National group on Facebook.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Catch This - Gary Carter has a Blog

Mets great Gary Carter has a blog!

Carter, currently managing the Long Island Ducks, is blogging about his managing style, the prospects on his team, and even the two new ballparks in New York.

I know Gary's been a little too honest campaigning for the Mets manger position, but I still believe he's been treated poorly by the current Mets organization. Really, could he be any worse than managing two historic September collapses?

My Gary Carter autograph collection:

Thanks to BBTF for the link.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

SportsLocker gets the Phungo 5

Thanks to the great Phungo blog for the highlight on Saturday. Phungo does a great job reviewing sports cards and memorabilia news and allowed me to participate in the Phungo 5 Q&A. They were great questions from a great blogger.

Thanks again for the shout-out.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Odd Man Out by Matt McCarthy - Book Review

Odd Man Out is a brief snapshot of life in the low baseball minor leagues. The story begins on a Yale pitching mound and ends a year later during cuts at Angels spring training.

During the twelve months of McCarthy's professional baseball career he calls our attention to steroids, race relations, and cultural relations in Mormon dominated Provo, UT. These are great issues to address and learn more about, but McCarthy does little than give us the tip of the iceberg.

McCarthy relates an encounter he had with teammates dealing with steroids, but never provided a follow-up. Even if he never spoke about it again with teammates, I would have liked to have known if he ever saw someone taking steroids, did he notice changes in their body or behavior, and did others whisper about it.

McCarthy describes a pitching session he had with a coach battling cancer, but he did little to follow-up on the health of the coach after McCarthy left the game.

Other examples of McCarthy scratching the surface, but refusing to dig deeper include: host family relations, race relations, and religion.

I liked the book, but I wanted more. It's a fast read and I definitely recommend it, but I was hoping for a bit more.