Photo: AP Images
At every playoff game, three MLB employees, armed with a collection of holographic stickers, gather foul balls, dirty bases, and broken bats and dress them up in the shiny stickers.It’s all part of the $2+ billion dollar sports memorabilia business. Since 2001, when the FBI uncovered a whole web of fraud within the baseball memorabilia market, the MLB has employed an authentication program. They ensure that customers shelling out thousands of dollars on unique memorabilia, actually get the real thing.
Employees of the authentication program get their hands on even the most mundane collectibles as soon as a play is dead, and mark it with a sticker to ensure their authenticity.
For example, in Wednesday night’s Yankee-Rangers game:
The Yankees scored three runs in the second and added two in the 3rd. In between those innings, the bases were changed, tagged and stored. The same thing happened again in the fourth. Balls deemed scuffed were removed from play by the umpire to be recorded and tagged; ageing beasts who would spend their days being admired, but never again return to the wild.
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