Just finished reading Michael Sandel's new book. This excerpt about the the extraordinary extent of commercialization in baseball is
Barry Bonds hit seventy three home runs in a season, breaking McGwire's record. The fight for the seventy-third home run ball led to an ugly scene in the stands and a lengthy legal dispute. The fan who caught it was knocked to the ground by a mob of people trying to grab it. The ball slipped out of his glove and was recovered by another fan standing nearby. Each claimed that the ball was rightfully his. The dispute led to months of legal wrangling and eventually a court trial involving six lawyers and a panel of court-appointed law professors asked to define what constitutes possession of a baseball. The judge ruled that the two claimants should sell the ball and share the proceeds. It sold for $450,000.
Today the marketing of memorabilia is a routine part of the game. Even the detritus of Major League Baseball games, such as broken bats and used balls, is sold to eager buyers. To assure collectors and investors of the authenticity of game-used gear, every Major League Baseball game now has atleast one official "authenticator" on duty...
In 2011, Derek Jeter's three-thousandth hit was a bonanza for the memorabilia industry. In a deal with a collector, the storied Yankee shortstop signed a thousand commemorative balls, photos, and bats the day after his milestone hit. The autographed balls went for $699.99, the bats went for $1099.99. They even sold the ground on which he walked. After the game in which Jeter collected his three-thousandth hit, the groundskeeper gathered five gallons of dirt from the batter's box and shortstop position where Jeter had stood. The bucket containing the sacred earth was a sealed and marked with an authenticator's hologram, then sold by the spoonful to fans and collectors. Dirt was also collected and sold when the old Yankee stadium was torn down. One memorabilia company claims to have sold over $10 million worth of authentic Yankee stadium dirt.
Some players have sought to cash in one less admirable feats. The all-time hits leader, Pete Rose, who was banished from baseball for gambling on games, has a website that sells memorabilia related to his banishment... For $500, Rose will send you an autographed copy of the document banishing him from the game.
Other players have sought to sell even odder items. In 2002, Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Luis Gonzalez auctioned a piece of used chewing gum for $10000 online... After Seattle Mariners pitcher Jeff Nelson had elbow surgery, he put the bone chips from his elbow up for sale on eBay. The bidding reached $23600, before eBay halted the auction, citing a rule against the sale of human body parts.Is this the future of IPL cricket?