My "Wall-to-Wall Baseball" cohorts Dave Johnson, Tom Davis and I trekked up to the woods of Monkton, MD after today's show to attend the 3rd Annual Camp Puh'tok Bull Roast. It was a fun time, the food was terrific, and it was well attended.
We end up chatting with all kinds of folks at events like this, and we frequently hear some pretty wild stuff, all of which is quite sincere, but is sometimes a little off the mark. Today we were approached by a gentleman who said "I understand you guys do a great job, but I quit being a baseball fan some years ago..." Really? How'd that happen?
"Well, when I heard that Roger Clemens had started charging for his autograph, I thought it wasn't worth my time."
"That's how all this paid autograph thing started, with Clemens."
I took a deep breath and explained that players had been getting paid to sign autographs at memorabilia shows before Clemens was even a professional player, and that it's the promoter of these shows that sets the fee per signature, not the player. I mean, Clemens has done his share of dumb things, but he's blameless for this.
"Really? I heard he charged people at the ballpark." No, actually, the rules prevent players from keeping a cashier handy to make change or run people's credit cards.
I'm guessing he wasn't much of a fan to start with if something like that was keeping him from the sport.
By the way, speaking of collecting, you may have heard that Kirk Gibson - perhaps the most unpleasant major leaguer I ever encountered - is going to auction off the bat that he used to hit his famous 1988 World Series home run. He says he doesn't need the money, and he has his own reasons for doing it. It'll go for a bundle, for sure. The Dodgers would love to have it, but they're going to have to bid like everyone else, despite the fact that they paid for it originally.
Funny how that works.