Write Derek at drksmart @ gmail.com
Write Phil at phil.bencomo @ gmail.com
Wherein Your Host Doth Let His Righteous Indignation Flow Like The Flooding Nile
by Derek Smart
This afternoon I got this email from someone named Kevin Klein:
Subject: STEVE BARTMAN, Where forth art thou?
Given your focus on the Cubs, we thought you'd
be interested in the attached press release concerning the missing
Cubs fan that interfered with the ball in Game 6 of the 2003 National
League Championship Series against the Marlins. After the game he
moved from Chicago and no one knows where he is. Until now that is. We
are offering him $25,000 cash to come to Chicago and face his fans and
sign the infamous photo. The attached press release explains everything.
I also would like to introduce you to SportsBuy.com (formerly
Naxcom.com). We are a dedicated exchange for sports collectibles. I am
the director of business development and am interested in ways that we
might work together and am using this as an excuse to extend this
introduction. If you are not familiar with our site
(http://www.sportsbuy.com) please take a minute to check it out. If you are familiar with it
and have ideas how we could work together please let us know.
Thank you for your time and I hope to hear from you.
And here's a snippet from the aforementioned press release:
Where forth art thou, Steve Bartman?
29th National Sports Collectors Convention offers record $25,000 to sign one autograph
(July 23, 2008) - The most money ever offered for one autograph is on the table, literally, at the 29th Annual National Sports Collectors Convention, scheduled for July 30 – August 3 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill.
Show organizers and SportsBuy.com (formerly NAXCOM.com), a Sports Online Sales & Auction firm, announced today that a briefcase filled with $25,000 – that’s 250 $100 bills – is being offered to Steve Bartman on “Redemption-Reward Thursday” (July 31, 2008) at the annual sports collectibles convention.
The Bartman signing is scheduled for 1 p.m. Central Time on Thursday, July 31, in the Tristar Autograph Pavilion inside the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont.
“No one in sports memorabilia history has ever been paid $25,000 to sign one autograph – not Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Joe DiMaggio, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, or any other athlete,” said Mike Berkus, co-Executive Director of The National.
“All Steve has to do is show up, prove he is in fact the real Steve Bartman – not some earphone-wearing imposter – and he’ll move to the top of the autograph value list,” said Wesley Hein, CEO of SportsBuy.com.
The photograph that The National organizers want Bartman to sign is, of course, the infamous image from Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series against the Florida Marlins. Once the picture is signed, it will be auctioned on SportsBuy.com to the general public with net proceeds being donated to a Chicago-based charity. This photo, signed by Steve Bartman, would be, arguably, the most sought-after collectible in the history of sports memorabilia.
“Steve Bartman has been a recluse for years, but we’re hopeful that he will accept our invitation and generous offer to appear at The National,” Berkus said. “We have personal security to provide to Steve at The National and to a destination of his choosing.”
If Bartman accepts the offer, he immediately will vault into an autograph stratosphere of his own. Just consider the past prices and values of former athletes for one autograph:
Babe Ruth: $10,000
Shoeless Joe Jackson: $7,500
Lou Gehrig: $5,000
Michael Jordan: $2,500
Joe DiMaggio: $2,000
Mickey Mantle: $1,000
First point - The Minutia: Where forth? Really?!? It's one thing to take a famous quote that doesn't quite fit your needs (Obviously, the Shakespeare is 'Wherefore art thou', and since 'Wherefore' essentially means 'why', it doesn't work in this context) and alter it to better adhere to the parameters of your purpose, but mein Gott im himmel, at least manage to have your 'fixed' version make sense. 'Where forward are you, Steve Bartman?' is one way of rewording what they've done there, with multiple other thesaurus-gleaned replacements that are equally sense-free. Another way is 'Wherefore don't we understand the basics tenets of English?' I think that's my favorite.
Of course, I've given them credit for being intelligent enough to know that the original text uses 'Wherefore' and that the meaning of the word in question precludes them from using it in their chosen fashion, when the fact may well be that they think one of the most famous lines in the Western Canon is 'O Romeo, Romeo! where forth art thou Romeo?' I have no preference between the two, for both mean that the assemblers of the above are barely literate goons. Which brings me to:
Second point - The Point: This company, and anyone who continues to work for them, are beneath contempt - disgusting creatures that, if they ever come into our Earthly Sunlight, must soon thereafter surely shrink to the chilly comfort of an alleyway garbage bin's shadow. I can think of no other type of being that would be so willing to openly, brazenly profit off the misery of others.
"But wait," they say, "we're not profiting. We're paying the gentleman in question for his time, then giving the proceeds that come from that time to a charity. What could possibly be wrong with that? Do you not like charity? Do you not wish to help your fellow man? Do you not love America and Freedom and your Mom?"
And all that would be fine if I were willing to delude myself into thinking that this were a simple transaction for charity, but this is not. Clearly not. This is spectacle. This is The Coliseum. This is $25,000 cash in a fucking suitcase.
For those who are persuaded by this stunt to attend the convention, if Bartman doesn't show - as he clearly won't - then, what the hell, there's the suitcase of money to see, and - hey! Look at all this other memorabilia available for me to purchase! And to think, if it wasn't for my wanting to come down here and gawk like a slack-jawed accident hound at some poor guy signing a photo, I wouldn't have even known or cared about this. It's almost like it doesn't matter to the company if he shows up, like the whole idea was to just get me down here in the first place so I would buy this autographed, game-worn, jock strap.
But, of course, they want him to show. For the charity.
Before even beginning to write about this I'd thought quite a bit about the idea that I'm being duped, here. That these Pimples on the Devil's Ass sent me and others an email hoping that we would get angry, praying for posts about this horrifying crap, desirous that scads of bloggers spend a thousand words or so excoriating their hateful, pitiless attempt to capitalize on another human's very real pain. I worried that in posting about this, the unfortunate result would be me providing free publicity that they would otherwise not receive, unwittingly spreading their message of degradation and abasement to those few squalid-souled individuals who might take an interest in this sort of grotesque burlesque.
Then I decided to have a little faith. I decided that the people who would read this would be like me. That those who aren't Cub fans would see how endlessly foul this whole enterprise is, and that those who are Cub fans would feel, like me, that the most painful thing about that incident wasn't the loss, but when one would imagine oneself in his shoes.
So I'm posting this, and I'm asking you to take notes. See that name - SportsBuy.com - and remember that this is a company that traffics in sorrow. That they will cater to humanity's worst instincts for the chance to sell you a signed baseball. That they deserve your curses, yet feel no shame.
And as a final statement to those who are so quick to make a buck from another's nightmare, and those who are so willing to give that buck, I say to you in the words of a man whose pen trembles with posthumous rage at having his work associated with this abomination: