Thursday, January 19, 2006

Baseball Advanced Media

I got a very interesting piece of e-mail from the Florida State League’s Brevard County Manatees regarding the redesign of their website. It seems that Baseball Advanced Media is the organization working on it. Now, you probably know BAM from They are the company that designed and built and put Yankees material on the Twins page.

The letter states “BAM is working to incorporate all Minor League Baseball team web sites into this operation, however that will be a few years away.”

Now honesty, do you really like Granted, after looking at some minor league team’s websites on the internet, having the sort of content that BAM can provide, plus the look and feel is going to be an improvement. But I honestly feel the “cloned” team sites, and I’m sorry, they are very cloned, is kind of annoying. And when you get into areas like voting for the All-Star team or the coverage for the Hall of Fame voting, reporting that impacts all of Major League Baseball, the articles are generally not written to be team specific before they are published. Additionally, if you are on a narrowband connection – and yes, I know there is a narrowband version – it either takes forever to upload, or you lose a good deal of content.

And in the end, somewhere on the page there is other MLB content. And I’m sorry, but I really don’t particularly care to have Red Sox or Yankees content on my Twins site. Nope, not even headlines for those teams. They just don’t belong there.

Now we’re looking at “cloning” all the minor league sites. In a way, this will be sad. Individuality has gone down the drain. Just like most fans quite creating and running unofficial fan pages for things and have gone over to straight blogging. And most blogs are rarely topic specific.

Which is another thing. now offers you the chance to write blogs. Great. I’d like to find a Twins blog on there, but…there really isn’t a good search mechanism worked into the site, at least not on the blog page.

Well, on the bright side, it means they won’t be pulling the Miracle page down every off-season to “rework” it.

In other news, Florida Gulf Coast University passed a resolution to go to NCAA Division I competition. The Fort Myers local college has already produced infielding prospect Chris Brown for the Twins, and that was when they were a Division III university. Baseball is one of the programs designed to be fast-tracked, making them eligible for post-season play in about three years if everything should go well. The Eagles are projected to join the Atlantic Sun Conference, which has several universities in the area (Stetson, Jacksonville and North Florida) none of which have football programs, a notable lack on FGCU’s athletic program.

However, the Eagle’s baseball program has been largely successful to date and with a large number of scouts in the area, the students they attract are guaranteed to get a pretty good look, not just by the Twins, but by many of the Major League teams who will already have scouts in the area to watch the FSL and Gulf Coast League teams that play out of Fort Myers, as well as the players who work out in the area during the off season.

The move has already drawn a lot of interest, but a number of details need to be worked out before the move can be finalized. In the meantime, the Division II Eagles prepare to take the field, with FGCU opening on February 1st against Barry University.

Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles

Outfield Jason Grove has not played baseball in a year after leaving the Yankees’ organization in March of 2005. The Twins signed Grove to a minor league contract with the intention of having him join the New Britain Rock Cats for the start of the 2006 season.

The Washington state native had played two seasons with the Trenton Thunder of the Eastern League before cutting ties with the Yankees. The Twins have promised him a swift promotion to Rochester if he can produce with New Britain. Grove can produce hits (180 hits for 619 at bats for a .291 two-year batting average), but needs to improve his long ball game if he is to contribute offensively at the higher farm levels. Grove has only hit 16 homers during his two years at the AA level.

Former minor league coach Jeff Carter has left the Twins to join the Kansas City Royals organization. Carter served as the hitting coach for last year’s High-A Fort Myers Miracle team while he helped mentor field manager Riccardo Ingram through his first season of High-A ball. Carter served as a hitting coach in AA New Britain during 2004, and was the field manager that led the 2000 Elizabethton Twins to an Appalachian League championship while winning manager of the year.

Carter, who lives in Arizona, also led the low-A Quad City River Bandits to a 256-218 record from 2001 to 2003, including two playoff appearances.

The Twins extended family wishes him well in his new endeavors with the Royals.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

That's the Ticket!

U-2 TicketEvidently, I'm not as crazy as I thought I was for hanging on to my ticket stubs. While it's not yet a huge industry, ticket stub collecting is growing in popularity and has already earned its own little nitch.

There are several products available to collectors and some of them are quite innovative.

That's My offers Ticket Frames for example. Their spiel: "You got the tickets. You went to the game. You took the pictures. Perhaps there were even hotel, airline, and rental car expenses? It may have been the single greatest sporting event you ever attended. May have been? Okay, it was the single greatest sports event you've ever seen. Your friends and family are jealous. Now you're back at work and just dying for someone to ask you about your seats, the halftime show, the bone-crushing tackle, the 500-foot home run, that birdie on 17, the diving catch, or how great a time you had. But nobody has.

"Enter the Ticket Frame from That's My Ticket the perfect item for capturing the experience and memory of being there. With your game ticket as its centerpiece, the Ticket Frame combines every aspect of attending a sports event. The headline and sub-headline trumpets the game's significance. The officially licensed 8-by-10 game photo spotlights the key on-the-field moment. The 600-word game summary illustrates the day's newsworthy events and includes post game quotes from the individuals who made history. The TMT composite stat box highlights all the game's scoring and action. And, your Ticket Frame gets personalized by your 4-by-6 photo; thus you not only get to relive the memory of the game, your Ticket Frame allows you to relive your experience at the stadium."

Nice, except, I'm not the kind of person to have my photo taken every place I go. Plus, their package, while nice, is sort of limiting. For example, I'm not going to be finding frames for the Everblades games or even the ECHL All-Star game. While fun for me, I doubt my "buddies" are going to be all that impressed that I attended. And they certainly don't have the 1997 World Series available. Besides, what would I put into that photo space?

World Series Ticket

That's My offers an alternate idea. For just a low price, they digitally reproduce your ticket(s), typically to a scale of approximately 3:1 or 4:1 onto high quality 3mm thick reinforced PVC backed card and covered with a high UV protected matt seal. Once again, you have a piece, suitable for hanging on you wall at home or in the office. They can repair damage, or add a few fake tear marks if you think what will make it look mor authentic.

Smashing Pumpkins TicketTicket collectors enjoy tickets because they are a real piece of memorabilia from a sporting event, concert, broadway show, etc. Tickets are less collected, researched and sold than trading cards, However, tickets are scarce and limited to seating capacity. The scarceness of ticket stubs translates to money value. Scarcity adds value to the price of a ticket stub. When you add the historical significance of event the value can really jump.

Ticket prices are varied and full of gaps. It takes the new collector time and effort to find their bearings. New tickets from this year All-Star, World Series or Super Bowl are expensive as people pay $100-$3,000 to attend the event and often keep the ticket. Tickets stubs from these recent events sell for about $150 a ticket stub. Even these stubs are worth the price considering the scarcity, beauty and significance.

And yes, autograph tickets have a place too. Obviously I'm not the only one getting autographs on ticket stubs. lists the factors for determining value as follows: Full ticket vs. ticket stubs. (Many venues now check your ticket with a optical scanner and do not tear it. For older games however, finding a whole ticket is very tough.) Condition: Mint, Near Mint, Fine. It should be noticed that some collectors do like the nicks and tears in the stubs. Game Results or historical value, such as Cal Ripkin's 3,000-hit game. And rare games: world series, super bowl, etc.

PSA is getting ready to offer Ticket Grading for sporting event tickets. They also plan to open the PsA Set Registry and offer a few suggestions - like all seven of Nolan Ryan's No Hitters. They have already posted ticket grading standards on their website.

NHL Entry Draft Ticket

For myself, I'm just kind of amused to have the tickets, and look back on them and say "Oh, man, I remember that game/show/event." To that end, I stopped by the scrap book store, got a journal sized book for $5.00 and have started adding my ticket stubs to the album using photo mounts. Not perhaps the most creative of ideas, but it's simple and it keeps them from getting crunched up or damaged any more than they are now.

And who knows, maybe one of these days, one of those tickets might actually be worth something.