Man Versus Ball: Author Jon Hart Scores

George Plimpton lives!

Well, let’s say the spirit of this Paper Tiger does. Plimpton believed in the “you are there” participatory journalism that’s hard to find these days.
That’s why Man Versus Ball: One Ordinary Guy and His Extraordinary Sports Adventures fills a void.
Author Jon Hart shatters a fantasy too many baseball fans might have harbored. Wouldn’t it be sweet to be a ballpark vendor — free games and leftovers?
Hart worked at Yankee Stadium, Shea and CitiField, even the Boston Red Sox spring training.
He didn’t glean lots of baseball tidbits in his service. However, Hart found a vendor during the 1996 World Series who was buddies with the older brother of outfielder Paul O’Neill. 
Early on, we find out that vendors have little time for on-field action. Hart observed Jerry Seinfeld outside a suite before several Mets games. That’s it. 
The people who choose vending, the drunken fans, the commission-only pay…Hart spells it all out. Willie and Waylon should sing, “Mama, don’t let your babies grow up to be vendors.”
While attending mascot school, the instructor led Hart on with tales of the Mr. Met job becoming open. He wound up with a brief gig at the elementary school, wearing the costume of the Newark Bears independent league baseball team.
My favorite words from Hart came on page 162. From his “annoying things that customers do” list came this warning:
“Someone always asks for ingredients. Who really knows what’s in the pretzels–or the dogs, for that matter. Here are the ingredients, in short: IT’S CRAP!”
Hart chose a tough road to travel with this title. Fans of just one sport will be peeved that he writes about the other sports. Worst of all, he isn’t a celebrity name-dropper. Instead, he’s telling the stories of the unknown sports lovers, those people who’ll take any job to be near professional competition. 
Based on Hart’s showing here, I’d be first in line for his next baseball-only memoir.

Admiring "The Amazing Shea Stadium Autograph Project"

“Get your own autograph!”

No, I don’t think that was a line from a Seinfeld episode. I do think it might be good advice for collectors.

Take a look at The Amazing Shea Stadium Autograph Project blog. I think collector Lee Harmon is doing many things right in his hobby game plan. The Mets have amazed Harmon. Harmon amazes me.

1. He found a way to go beyond blank index cards as collectibles. These homemade, customized cards are beauties! The only problem I could imagine is the player who loves the look of the custom so much they want to send back a common gum card substitute.

2. He’s set a specific goal. I think too many collectors flame out trying to get every card ever made signed, one signature of every player in history or some other huge, frustrating task.

3. He’s letting ex-Mets be famous again. If you were told that you were one of just 791 people being asked for a signature because of your unique past (playing in Shea), wouldn’t you want to help? Retirees should like helping Harmon with his goal, considering that they tried to achieve goals for years as players.

4. His collection is personal. Harmon’s blog shows how he loves the team. Most of all, through his own card (and HIS OWN autograph), he proves how he treasures the memory of Shea.

For some of the tough signers, I’d think Harmon could point them to the blog. Here’s proof that he’d honor any autograph he receives. While he’s not promising to get any old-timer back in the Mets lineup, he’s sharing their career and life story with more than 10,000 readers. Not a bad consolation prize.

A standing O to Lee Harmon. I’ll stay tuned!

Admiring “The Amazing Shea Stadium Autograph Project”

“Get your own autograph!”

No, I don’t think that was a line from a Seinfeld episode. I do think it might be good advice for collectors.

Take a look at The Amazing Shea Stadium Autograph Project blog. I think collector Lee Harmon is doing many things right in his hobby game plan. The Mets have amazed Harmon. Harmon amazes me.

1. He found a way to go beyond blank index cards as collectibles. These homemade, customized cards are beauties! The only problem I could imagine is the player who loves the look of the custom so much they want to send back a common gum card substitute.

2. He’s set a specific goal. I think too many collectors flame out trying to get every card ever made signed, one signature of every player in history or some other huge, frustrating task.

3. He’s letting ex-Mets be famous again. If you were told that you were one of just 791 people being asked for a signature because of your unique past (playing in Shea), wouldn’t you want to help? Retirees should like helping Harmon with his goal, considering that they tried to achieve goals for years as players.

4. His collection is personal. Harmon’s blog shows how he loves the team. Most of all, through his own card (and HIS OWN autograph), he proves how he treasures the memory of Shea.

For some of the tough signers, I’d think Harmon could point them to the blog. Here’s proof that he’d honor any autograph he receives. While he’s not promising to get any old-timer back in the Mets lineup, he’s sharing their career and life story with more than 10,000 readers. Not a bad consolation prize.

A standing O to Lee Harmon. I’ll stay tuned!

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