Sunday Without The Braves


No Braves baseball for the second straight day and another one like it ahead. In the post World Series / pre-spring training months when only those filler sports are offered, I fill my time with the mundane in life – work, movies, TV shows, a holiday or three – but times like these leave me at loose ends. My mind tends to wander and as you’ll see, perhaps it shouldn’t be out on its own for very long.

Like most you MLB tries to keep me occupied – and get more of my money – with email offers to buy more baseball stuff. Being bored does occasionally result in my wallet emptying so I thought I’d peek at the bargains they were offering today.

Souvenirs are a personal preference. I have things that only I understand why I bought laying around here. So if you have to have similar things to those in my list, please don’t take it personally. My stuff would probably seem odd to you. Herewith a few things that I felt were worthy of note for being so uncollectable.

The Steiner collection contains lots of high quality items with  certificates of authenticity for every autograph and each game worn item.  Today they were having a sale nd for Braves fans the list of Steiner collectables contains 26 items. Of that 26, 17 were understandably related to Hank Aaron including photo’s, bats, balls and jerseys. There were two Phil Niekro items – a photo and a signed ball – and one a signed Billy Wagner baseball. Those are the things I think of as collectables and might consider paying for. The remaining six were little plastic containers of nicely displayed and in a couple of cases beautifully mounted. . .dirt.

Two of these souvenirs had Chipper Jones’ image (please Chipper buy all of these and get your face off of them; think legacy), two had a picture of Turner Field, and one was  a set of drink coasters with a generic Braves logo. I can see it now. Visitors come to my home and being hospitable I offer them an adult beverage. “No! Please don’t set your Mint Julip on my genuine Braves coaster with Ted dirt! Sit it right on the table. Yes, it’s oak and cost $1000 but it isn’t a collectable coaster full of Ted dirt.” If they don’t laugh at me then they will later; I hope.

For the true connoisseur (I guess) there was a 4.5 inch high “tapered crystal’ thing (paperweight?) that had “Braves” etched into it and a hologram verifying that the dirt on view was “game used dirt.” Not to be outdone, Mounted Memories will sell you some infield dirt in a fancier frame set into a “coin” and covered with engraved acrylic.

The idea that dirt from the Ted will ever be in such short supply that you’ll need a hologram and CoA certifying that the sample you have was once trodden on by some nameless Braves players and their equally nameless foes during a game on an unspecified day doesn’t strike me as realistic. If I had some Ted dirt I scooped in a little container during a tour for example, and anyone ask me for proof of it’s origin, I’d laugh so hard they’d be offended and leave.

Personally as a souvenir of the Ted, I recommend taking the stadium tour and getting your picture taken there – mine with my son after Tom Glavine’s induction in 2010 is below – I’m the little guy on the left but you’ll have guessed that.  If you must have some Ted dirt scoop a little up in a drink cup and mount it yourself. I doubt anyone will question it’s origins.

John and I on field_2

I do understand that some ballparks  – Fenway and Wrigley for example – are considered shrines to baseball. So perhaps dirt from those hallowed grounds is collectable to some.  Last I looked the Ted – as much as I love being there – wasn’t on that list.  But, it’s your $24.99 plus tax and shipping. So if a of piece of crystal with dirt in it and a CoA is what you seek, have fun. The Steiner company and Monuted Memories – both fine companies to deal with – will be glad to have your business.

Speaking of Mounted Memories, they offer very nicely engraved acrylic display cases for your collectable bat. One such case is listed as a “backward” bat case.  A quick check showed that it wasn’t designed for showing off the back of the bat (that’s humor folks, live with it.) Instead it was created (they flipped the other one 180 degrees before putting the logo on) to display the bat of a lefty hitter as it would be viewed by the catcher during a swing. I guess I’m just not up on the finer details of bat display. My Brian McCann bat is in a forward –if the other one is backward this one must be forward – display case.

As you can see, McCann signed the bat so that if displayed in a backward case it would be upside down and unreadable. I guess Brian doesn’t know about the tiny details that make a bat display perfect either. These last two aren’t related to the Braves but . . . well . . .

In some cases a player bursts onto the scene and generates an immediate demand for his stuff, like Jose Constanza now for example . I understand that. One would think however that when the player’s career makes a hard left turn to head south or tapers off to the ordinary, these things would vanish from the shelves or at least the price would drop. That isn’t apparently the case. Here a couple of things that struck me as the kind of item only a family member – or stalker – would buy, once again from the Steiner collection.

Cleveland Indians, Shelley Duncan Autographed MLB Baseball - $109.99

Shelly Duncan – son of  Cardinal pitching coach Dave Duncan – made a splash a few years back with the Yankees. Since then he’s become a part time player. Since that’s the case I think a $109.99 for a signed ball seems a little steep.

New York Mets Oliver Perez Autographed “Jumping Over Foul Line” Signed 16×20 Photograph  - $99.99

There are things Mets fans might want a picture of Perez jumping over – or off of – but I’m betting the foul line isn’t one of them.

This is not to say that everything – or anything – I have is special or better than something anyone else might have in their collection. During the 2009 and 2010 Braves Hall of Fame luncheon there was a grab bag where, for a few bucks donated to the Braves Foundation, you could reach in and blindly choose baseballs autographed by Braves players. I landed a Tim Hudson ball and across from me someone got one signed by Martin Prado. Most however fell into the same category as the Duncan ball and the Perez picture. But it was for charity so I didn’t mind. If however, anyone would like to have a baseball bearing the certified autograph of Braves star Ryan Church, I am accepting offers.

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