Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

A tale of two balls

…baseballs, I mean.  Calm down.

First, here’s a little early xmas present I got myself the other day: a signed Troy Tulowitzki ball. I netted it from eBay for only twenty bucks.  The guy also had Matt Holliday and Jason Giambi balls going for about ten bucks toward the end of their auctions, but I did not splurge as much as I could have.  This is only the second ball in my collection, the first being a Rockies spring training 08 ball that John Sheppard gave me at my wedding reception. I need to avoid getting into this particular hobby, though.  I think the ideal baseball collectible is the stack of plastic cups I have on top of my fridge.  They’re ideal because they always change from season to season and stadium to stadium, and every time I buy a five dollar Coke at the ballpark, I add to my collection.

On the subject of this, I saw this movie last night on Netflix called Up for Grabs. It was the story of the 73rd home run ball hit by Barry Bonds in the 2001 series, and the fight between two men who each claimed they caught the ball.  The story in a nutshell is that one guy caught the ball but then apparently dropped it when he was tackled by a horde of people, and this other dude picked it up in the ensuing melee. Of course, both sides disputed this, especially since the ball was going to potentially auction for a few million bucks.  Spoiler alert: a judge ordered them to auction off the ball and split the proceeds.  Fine, except the plaintiff in the lawsuit ran up something like $650,000 of legal fees and essentially made this lawsuit his full-time job.  When the ball got auctioned off almost two years later, it went for about $450,000, which the two guys split (and then had to pay income tax on.)  So yeah, sucks for that guy. There’s a lot more to the story, but it was an entertaining documentary. If you have netflix, give it a look – it’s watchable online (or on your PS3 or Roku box, if you’re now doing that.)

The moral of the story, I think, had to do with the greed and sensationalism of current-day baseball, which isn’t a good thing to have rolling through your head as you’re cruising through eBay listings looking for Rockies collectibles.  So I’ll stick to collecting the plastic cups for now.