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Monday, November 28, 2005


Thanks Fans, Now Pay Up

Okay, so MattyFred reports in the comments section of the entry below that the money from the Garage Sale goes to the new ballpark. Thus, it is logical to assume the fees for autographs will also help pay for the new ballpark. While hardly for the players' wallets, it's not exactly supporting a charitable cause. I think it kind of sucks. Getting an autograph from a player you worshipped as a kid or one you cheered as an adult represents a special opportunity to interact with these players that few fans get to experience. We buy the tickets to the games, the merchandise, pay for cable or satellite subscriptions, and buy the products of advertisers, hell, fans even bought dirt and other memorabilia from Busch, making the monetary support of the team unquestionable. Allowing us a breif chance to interact with the players from the teams we pay to see would be a gracious and small way of thanking the fans. I imagine that if they were to subtract the total revenue from the autograph sales this weekend stadium construction could continue, without the few thousand dollars generated from the autographs. You know, they could have just recycled the restroom signs from the old stadium; aren't these new ballparks all designed to be "retro" anyway? Jeers to the Cards on this one.
Ryan, With all due respect - Where have you been? Players have been charging for autographs for years.

I disagree with your "logical assumption" (and therefore your entire post) that the players' autograph fees will go towards the new ballpark. After reading about 50 articles on autograph shows and signing sessions over the last fifteen years I can say with some confidence that players who sit for autograph sessions do it for 1) profit to themselves, or 2) profit to a charity. The Cardinals organization is not a charity and they are not labeling any of this Busch sell-off as charitable. Although Gibson, Brock, et al, are surely good guys, I find it hard to believe they'd just "do the team a favor" and donate their profits from this weekend's signings. As for the general practice of charging for an autograph, well, hasn't that been going on for quite a while now? It's not exactly an unexpected event. Can you imagine the crowds if "free autographs" were given away by all those HOFers? The players were there to add to the event and get even more people in to buy the entrails of the old stadium; they did not add to the bottom line, and thus to hold the Cardinals up as villians for not donating their autograph revenue is to accuse them of doing something they didn't even have the opportunity to do.

As for the revenue from all the other stuff, well, that's another topic.
i know players have been charging for autographs for a long time, and it's shitty.

OK, so the lines for free autographs would be outrageous, but if there's a window of time that they offer them it minimizes that.

No they're not labeling any of this as for their charitable cuases, it's going for revenue. It would stand to reason that the players autograph fees are to compensate them for their time and the rest goes into the team's books. It's more logical to assume there's a split since they're charging for them. Besides, following your point, why not have them do it for free, then even more people (i.e. potential customers) would show up?

Besides, at $80 per signature, you're essentially limiting who can get an autograph, all fans or just fans with the cash. As fans, we pay over and over for the players' salaries and the team's profits (and the Cardinals are highly profitable), asking players to sign autographs for two hours would hardly be a stretch.
I was at the Garage Sale and the team certainly did not need to give away free autographs to get more people to show up. There were thousands of people waiting in line to get in and pay $100 for "Diaper Changing Station" signs (seriously.) And, the autographs were not even in the same hall as the memorabilia sale.

You may have a point about "splitting" the profits, but I think the team's take would be minimal, at best. It's like a card show, where the promoter gets nothing from the stars there to sign but the fact that their names will be on the advertisement and their presence will get more people in the door.

And, I'm sure if you presented the "giving back to the fans" argument to the Cardinals they'd just point to the $8.5 million they've given to the community via Cardinals Care and the creation of places like the new Musial Field in Jennings for underprivileged youth. I'm not saying that's the same thing as a gesture like free autographs, just that the team probably feels it is fulfilling its "give back" requirement in other ways.

The bottom line - You know why they don't "give back" in the way you are requesting? (And I'm not knocking the request at all; hey, I'd like to see some love from them too...) Same reason other marquee teams like the Cubs, Yankees, Red Sox, and Dodgers don't (and the Brewers, White Sox, and other non-drawing teams do.) They don't have to. It's like life - being popular and being nice don't always go hand in hand.
I understand your point. For the record, I think the players are kind of crummy for charging, way more than the team. It's totally a no-win situation.
I can feel your angst about the players charging for autographs but hey, if you played ball back before the multi-million dollar contracts and could make a living nowadays just signing your name would you do it?

I'm a fan of guys like Ernie Banks, who certainly cashes in on the autograph shows, but unabashedly recognizes it for what it is, and strives to interact with fans who pay for his signature. What sucks are the guys who don't even talk or look at a fan while signing their stuff. That moment, not the signature, is really what the fans want.

I don't fault these guys for charging, in light of the fact that things are just that way now. I do fault those who lose sight of how sweet a deal it is for them and act like jerks while they are doing it. Hopefully none of the Cardinal greats who were signing away this weekend fell to that level. As one who has been lucky enough to be around pretty much all of them in one way or another I find it hard to believe they'd stoop.

Oh, and I'm with you - Jacque Jones would be a terrible FA signing.
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