Everything Had To Go, So Everything Went

gavel_auction.gifYankee Stadium was a historic and beautiful ballpark, so it is understandable that many people are interested in acquiring souvenirs from the iconic “House That Ruth Built.”

Of course, the Yankees are seeking to capitalize on their fans’ emotional attachment to the 85-year-old facility by selling every possible stadium relic that they possibly can, for as much money as they possibly can. This predatory approach may be a fine example of cold-blooded capitalism, but it shows a blatant disregard for the average fan who can’t afford to pay $1000+ for a pair of seats.

Fortunately, as is so often the case, the Minor Leagues offer a comforting counterpoint to thisernie.jpg sort of lunacy. 2008 marked the Winston-Salem Warthogs‘ last season at Ernie Shore Field, and last weekend the club held an “everything must go” auction of stadium supplies and memorabilia. Since Ernie Shore Field is the future home of Wake Forest Baseball, the “everything” that went didn’t include the stadium fixtures. But it included just about everything else.

From the press release:

“Among the numerous items available for auction
include: all turf equipment (John Deere Gator and John Deere mower),
picnic tables, tents, cubicle systems, desks and file cabinets.  All
components of three fully furnished restaurants including walk in
freezer, grills, warmers, fryers, refrigerator units and ice machines
will also be auctioned off. 

All stadium
signage including the entrance marquis and thousands of other
collectibles such as souvenirs and gift shop items will also be
available.”

3600gun.jpg

Journalist Kim Underwood wrote an article for the “Winston-Salem Journal” that details many of the deals that were to be had last weekend. Many of the bargain hunters were there for purely practical purposes, while others were more interested in preserving ballpark memories. Absurdity abounds, due to the fact that many of the items were sold as package deals. So, the man who bought the team’s radar gun ended up with a giant inflatable helmet as well, while a picnic table also included a miniature golf putting green. Hey, why not?

The lesson here is that it is much more cost-effective to establish an emotional connection to a Minor League ballpark than a Major League one. Nostalgia is increasingly seen as a marketable commodity these days, so buyers may as well align themselves with the entities that are going to give them the most bang for the buck.

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