Washington Nationals: the latest ‘poor us’ fan mail autograph tale

Stephen Strasburg (shown from 2014) makes some claims about fan mail that many collectors might dispute. (Photo credit: Keith Allison, Wikimedia Commons)
Stephen Strasburg (shown from 2014) makes some claims about fan mail that many collectors might dispute. (Photo credit: Keith Allison, Wikimedia Commons)

Want to collect something new?

Try assembling a team-by-team set of “fan mail exhausts us!”

The Washington Nationals are the latest addition to this cookie-cutter collection of questionable journalism. Reporters seem to write from the same blueprint. Players claim to adore letters from kids. Or, the weary major leaguers discuss a rare memorable letter from the last sincere fan in the universe.

However, readers are reminded that the players are taken advantage of every day by countless corrupt letter writers.

Players finish by claiming that they just can’t cope with all the demands.

In reality, current-player response rates have taken a nosedive in the last five years.

It’s hard to take these articles seriously. Just because a player claims it doesn’t make it so. These season-after-season puff pieces almost seem like paid advertorials devised by teams. As in “Buy our tickets and licensed products, but don’t expect anything in return.”

When will a reporter make the effort to seek out real information, like on www.sportscollectors.net, to see which standoffish players are trying to shine up their tarnished reputations with fans?

Pitcher Ryan Tatusko Keeps Fans First in Korea

A 2014 Hanwha Eagle
(courtesy Ryan Tatusko)

Some say the love the game.

Others SHOW it.

I marvel at players like Ryan Tatusko. A major league organization sells your contract to another league in another country? No problem for newly-married former Texas Rangers and Washington Nationals prospect who wound up 2014 pitching for the Hanwha Eagles in Korea. 

Some collectors seeking signatures on Tatusko’s 2011 cards who blinked may have puzzled at how to find the hurler.

Just look on social media. Facebook. Twitter. He never forgot his fans.

Knowing that postal mail could be tricky, I vowed to get a burning question answered online:

Do baseball fans in Korea crave TTM autographs as much as we do?

His reply?

“We don’t get SASE stuff, but the fans wait and wait and wait for us to come out of the stadium. And I don’t think they’ve seen my cards (Korean?) back in the states.”

My bonus? I suggested that the right-hander ask his newlywed wife for her autograph, considering all the challenges she’s facing [He praised you as “unbelievable,” Mrs. T!] as he works in a new country. He added:

“I do. She won’t give it to me. LOL.”

I don’t know how many games Tatusko could win for a 2015 team. However, I can’t imagine any other pitcher, this side of Pat Neshek, winning more fans than “Tusk” could.

Winter Ball For TTM Collectors Means Asking!

Good luck, “Tusk!”

Ever wonder why players don’t just work out in the off-season? Why do they head to other countries for a second season of winter ball? (Washington Nationals pitching hopeful Ryan Tatusko announced his departure for winter ball in Puerto Rico via facebook last week!)

I think one reason is the bonus of learning from each other.

I’m guessing many of you have been sending the identical letter for years in your requests. Some of you write in spurts, sending one tons of requests at a time. You assume there’s a best time of year to get autographs.

Is there one best way to collect? I do know that comparing your style to other collectors will never do any harm.

Whether online or face-to-face, it’s likely that you have regular contact with another collector. Instead of gabbing about the weather or politics, ask about their recent collecting successes and setbacks.

1. Who’s signed for you by mail recently?
2. How long did it take?
3. What address did you use — and where did you find it?
4. What was your letter like?
5. What did the signer sign?
6. Who’s the next name on your hobby wish list?

Hobby pals might assume you know what they know. In college, a professor told me, “If your mama says she loves you, check it out.” Asking is free. (It wasn’t in college…)

Coming Wednesday: a homegrown secret to win over any signer.

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