Sunday, April 24, 2011

Pirates win,Autograph thoughts....

Pittsburgh drilled Washington 7-2 after a rain delay caused the game to start over an hour late.
Therefore,I didn't see the game.
Jeff Karstens improved to 2-0 allowing both runs over six plus innings.

The series continues today at 1:35
Pitching Matchup
Washington:Jason Marquis (1-0 3.26 ERA) at Pittsburgh:Kevin Correia (3-1 2.48 ERA) 1:35

Since I don't have much to say about a game that I didn't see,I figured today might be a slow day.
I found my topic in a Shell station of all places.
The Lovely Cherie has been a couponer (?) for years.
When you make what I do,it becomes almost a must,but the recent TLC show based on couponing,we decided to step it up a bit with the Sunday paper.
Usually, I buy the Washington Post as the least of three evils.
The Post at least has an interesting political section,which is more than I can say for the Baltimore Sun or the local entry-the Hagerstown Herald Mail.
If I am going to read a sports section based on teams I don't root for,the other portions of the paper will affect my buying decision.

This article caught my eye and I wanted to link to it.
I understand about filling Sunday copy space and this is an easy layup of an article to write,but the writer writes it from the viewpoint that most (not all) are coming at this from the chance to make money off Bryce Harper and with many that indeed is the case.
The author did at least talk to two owners of sports memorabilia shops and was able to get this point across from talking to them-IF you think you are going a make a mint off Bryce Harper signing something for you from a night at the Muni,you deserve what you are about to get.
In the sales market,the unauthenticated item is worth pennies on the dollar with the larger amount of fake signatures of sports stars.
All a buyer has is your word that Bryce Harper signed your item, and unless you are known to the buyer,that word doesn't mean much.
The closest player of similar hype locally was Matt Wieters,when he was a Frederick Key and he has been a disappointment with the Orioles,so these "speculators" should keep that in mind.
The worst part is the people that know little of the game other than the hype machine and have to have "something" of the latest "in thing",I have no idea why a non baseball fan would want a autograph of someone they don't know.
I would compare it to me going to the ballet and wanting a signature of their top dancer.
It may be worth a lot to a ballet fan,but eventually it will be of little value to me.

The worst part of the article is in the paper itself and is not available in the online version.
Two columns about autographing etiquette and dealing with value.
I wish the author would have asked me or another regular collector on this,because many of the "HarperMania" fans sure are lacking in the first and have little clue on the latter.
What those two columns have done is encourage every dum dum that reads today's Herald-Mail to come out and take a shot at the Hagerstown Suns version of the lottery.
This is great for the Suns coffers and I am glad for that,but it is not great for the regular graphers and I wager that it could make Bryce Harper an even more coveted signature-As he signs less..........

I have avoided writing about the Hagerstown Suns thus far.
The inexperienced staff needs a chance to prove themselves and thus far,the staff has been friendly and open to fixing mistakes,so thus far I am pleased in general with their attempts to deal with errors and the guys in the ticket booth have been very nice in a huge change over last season's ticket department.
However,I do need to comment on this because in an era of near four dollar a gallon gas,price gouging is everywhere and apparently on one topic,the team is joining in.
Last years Hagerstown team set was a high 15 dollars,when most teams sell for between 8-10.
The Suns did move all of their sets and the secondary market shows over double that.
In 2010,when Stephen Strasburg was all the rage,the Harrisburg Senators chose volume over high prices as they got their set out blazing fast and charged just five bucks,which is well below the average team set cost.
Harrisburg valued their customers and collectors and made plenty of money anyway.
The Hagerstown Suns are charging TWENTY TWO dollars for their 2011 team set.
No word on amount being printed,but this is price gouging at its best or worst.
I attempted to pre-order one (I usually order three,two going to out of town friends) in the team shop last night,but I was told that I could only do that online only.
Upon seeing the listing,sales tax was added (that's fine,I would pay that at the park anyway),but an added 6.95 shipping cost for sending a package that will cost 1.50 to send about a mile and a half to my house!
I want to pre-order so that I am sure to have one even at the oppressive cost,but 30.49?
This is not only unfair to the consumer/collector such as me,it delivers a blow that is currently killing baseball cards to the future generation in the mainstream-Too expensive for kids to afford.
Few kids are going to pay 22 dollars and tax for a team set,Bryce Harper or not,let alone 30.49!
And that number dwindles down,if Harper is gone from the Hub City by the time the set is released.
I like much of what is going on with the Suns as far as customer relations thus far,but this is a huge gaffe'.
Thanks for reading.
Back tomorrow with Pirates-Nationals and look for the Draft Preview later in the week....

Photo Credit-Des Moines Register


Mike said...

That is why I pretty much got out of collecting..Hucksters trying to make as much money as they can.. Look I know costs are somewhat high.But unless Harper requested to be paid for his card..No way this set should be any where near 15..Let alone 22(at the Team shop)

Shawn said...

Mike,I couldn't agree more and this time the blame goes nowhere but the team as they decide what to order and how many-therefore they set the standard.

I know the people trying to make money off Bryce Harper should include the team,but this is price gouging-period...

Mike said...

And imagine this.,.I sent a letter to the Herald Mail,AND the Nationals.. Not a word from either 1.. Guess it's time to post the email on my blog.. Not that it will do anything, But I know someone will read it!!