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Baseball Cards on Baseball Tonight - or on MLB productions show This Week in Baseball (aka TWIB)!

We really love this idea and believe that a segment on Baseball Tonight could literally set the hobby on fire! Now the question is what to next to make it happen...(another great option could be the weekly MLB productions show This Week In Baseball aka TWIB)

For starters, we'd just encourage you all to spread the word about the general concept - create a buzz at your local card shops, in on-line message boards, on your blogs, etc. Maybe someone out there would like to start a petition web site? Perhaps someone wants to really take this idea and run with it - don't let us stop you! This is for the good of the entire hobby!

We also need to find folks who could become ambassadors for this idea, to help take this to the next level. One of the essay mentioned Dimitri Young who is a player/collector. Here are a few more people we plan to reach out to:
Pat Nesheck player/collector, Phil Hughs player/collector, Keith Olbermann newsman/collector. Then of course there's the CEO's of Topps, Upper Deck, Beckett, Donruss, and ESPN.

Certainly no shortage of possible ways to get some interest going!

Our main objective today was to announce our winners! You can see the 2 winning essays below followed by all of the other entries. Thanks to EVERYONE who participated!

Darcy
Sportscardfun.com

Here are the 2 winning essays:

Co-winner #1

Here's my plan for the new baseball card segment on ESPN's Baseball Tonight

First, the show will be weekly. To create a 1 minute daily show would be too easily missed by the viewers. Second, it must be hosted by a current or retired major league baseball player or a nationally know TV personality, maybe two. It always helps, I think, for the show to be a dialogue. One must be someone who actually collects trading cards. The only one I personally know of is D'mitri Young. I know that he collects PSA 10 cards, but there must be others. Someone like current announcers, celebrities or even politicians. It is likely that this aspect of the show will determine how large and receptive the audience will be. The host or hosts must have a solid reputation as being an ambassador for baseball. Some research must be made into this area because it is my belief that one person would not want to do every show, but I would not rule it out. Third, the actual set would have to have some panache. I'm sure the people at Baseball Tonight will be able to take care of this aspect. They certainly will not want this segment to bring the excitement level of the show down. Lastly, the format that I am proposing eliminates the concept of taping multiple weeks of shows at one time. They must remain current. Although the aim is to invite new collectors into the hobby, all collectors know that the market is constantly changing. It is imperative that this concept, however, does not overshadow the nostalgic aspect of the hobby. Why do we collect, most I'm sure, to preserve our memories of the past.

The first minute or so would be devoted to current hot cards based on the market and player performances for the past week or month. A list of 5 to 10 players and their current stats or accomplishments should be enough to both fill the time and not get stale. A 15 or 20 second interview with one of the hot players would be a great touch. Even though we will lead with this, the focus will be on the popularity of the cards due to the players performance and not the cash value. Next would be a segment on minor league prospects and their performances for the week. The focus here should be entirely on the players potential to be popular in the future. This should encompass not more than 1 or 2 individuals unless warranted by extremely sensational stats. The next segment would look at vintage material, not limited to strictly pre-80's, as the current nomenclature does. At this point I think this segment could go back as little as 10-15 years, including such current players as Chipper Jones or Ken Griffey Jr, just to name examples. This could also include an interview with a HOFer or controversial player. Pete Rose comes to mind as an especially interesting guest. I don't think he would be a good host type, however, too much baggage. At the conclusion of each show would be a 20 to 30 second look at upcoming product. It could include tid bits from the previous years big hits of the same product or the popularity of it to set builders. A live box break of a new super premium product could work. A product that most collectors might find too expensive to actually break. Not only will this generate sponsorship from the trading card companies, it may even spawn a more committed effort to please their customers.

From time to time there could be special segments pertaining to grading, singles vs sets, nostalgic memories of collectors, forgotten stars, largest collections, first time collectors, best card shop, parallels vs. base, etc. The fact that our hobby has such a myriad of topics to be explored will keep the show fresh. The format does not, however, need to be carved in stone. The viewer feedback should be a factor in determining what direction it takes. I also feel that to eliminate football, basketball & hockey card collecting from the conversation, especially during the baseball off-season, would be a mistake. After all, to alienate those collectors would be counter productive to the goal of promoting the hobby. If the show works and the popularity of the hobby once again reaches the heights that I remember from the 80's & 90's, who knows.........

Having mentioned sponsorship, it should be obvious that nothing will happen without it. The notion that Baseball Tonight will be philanthropic by promoting this segment prior to having a concerted effort and strategy to obtain some support from the card companies is unrealistic. The targets for sponsorship should not be limited, however, to the card companies. National & regional shows and shops should be in the forefront. Wall Mart & Target come to mind. There may also be executives of some large or medium sized company in our country who are also collectors that could be solicited to support the show. The advertising budgets of these types of companies could be convinced that the audience being reached will fit their demographics. Case in point, they do advertise on Saturday morning cartoon shows. Both Major League Baseball and the players association should be approached to climb on the bandwagon, after all they would be beneficiaries of this type of programming. Actually any advertiser currently in Beckett or Tuff Stuff could and should be approached to garner interest or even a commitment to the project. Granted, this is not my area of expertise but someone like my own daughter, who has a degree in marketing, could prove to be valuable. At the very least it would be a place to start.

I don't know what kind of budget all of this would require. The production and research costs would have to be analyzed by those that know the business. What I do know, is that as a collector I not only would watch but also would like to record it. I would not want to miss a single detail from every episode. I would also like to thank you for the opportunity to be involved in this extremely exiting proposal. A peculiar attitude has come over me with the completion of this text, "I can't believe that this show has not been done yet, what can I do to help make it happen."

Mike Zembrzuski

Co-winner #2

Here's my plan for the new baseball card segment on ESPN's Baseball Tonight

Initially, the program would air once or twice per week, repeating. That is, the same episode would show a couple times a week to give viewers the opportunity to catch it if they missed it.

The bird's eye view of the program: MLB players, card execs, club managers, and/or prominent bloggers on the subject would appear in a 90-120 second segment (may be produced, but would probably work better "live") in which they discuss the hobby as they see it. Initially, guests would be selected based on their positive experiences, thoughts, and love for collecting. Players and managers could discuss their favorite cards, or even their own cards! Bring in Hall-of-Famers to talk about collecting as kids (and as adults, if they still do).

The segment could be sponsored by card manufacturers, but they would have no input on the content (unless they happen to be the featured guest of the day). In fact, ideally, specific manufacturers wouldn't be discussed so much as the state of the hobby and broad ideas regarding the types and styles of cards (for example, discussion on throwbacks, game-used, autographs, etc).

If the current hosts of Baseball Tonight collect, then they can serve as the moderator/interviewer. If they don't, however, then an 'expert' card collector/hobbyist should be brought in as the host of the segment.

Card collecting basically has two schools of thought - nostalgia and profiteering, and they are not always mutually exclusive. The first three or four episodes should focus on nostalgia. In fact, if you could get the owner of "THE" Honus Wagner to come on, or the owner of some other rare card to be the pilot offering, that would set the tone of the program.

The program should get personal. WHY do they collect? HOW LONG have they been collecting? WHO/WHAT are some of the guests favorite players/items to collect? The audience will enjoy hearing that their favorite player(s) collect the same player(s) or items. WHAT do the guests think about the current state of card collecting? WHY SHOULD KIDS (or anyone) COLLECT? The program should SHOW CARDS.

Keep the basic format the same until the program grows. Ask the same questions (or types of questions) to each guest, so the viewers know what to expect. Tease the viewers with upcoming guests and as the program matures, with new program features.

Episode 1 should feature Tony Gwynn, Cal Ripken Jr, a HOFer, or Ben Henry (blogger). Seriously. Ben Henry has been following baseball cards pretty in-depth and has one of (if not THE) most successful card blogs out there. Ask the guest the questions posed above. Have the guest either bring a few cards from his/her collection or have your folks find images they can use.

Episode 2 should feature another prominent person (a HOFer) or feature a collector that has a unique spin on the hobby (someone who collects only a certain team, certain player, etc). A great example would be the winner of your most recent essay contest. Patricia and her daughters are amazing people who collect cards based on smiles, mid-air antics caught on cards, players using old technology, etc. That shows viewers that not everyone is out there for the money in it, and not everyone uses the same approach to collecting.

Episode 3 can use either ideas/people not used in the previous two episodes, or bring in a current player that Baseball Tonight is already going to be interviewing. This will save on costs to the network, anyway.

In fact, that might not be a bad tie-in as the majority of the segments. Start each program off with the person being interviewed talking about card collecting for 90-120 seconds, do the rest of the show as usual, then when the time comes, bring the player/guest in for their program segment.

Future segments could feature certain cards, certain players, etc. As the segment grows in popularity (and possibly length, though no more than 4-5 minutes), it could actually be divided into a "Waxing Nostalgia" (play on words!) and a "Hottest Cards" sub-segment, covering both the feeling most collectors get from collecting and the profiting aspect many sellers wish for.

The program possibilities are limitless once the program gets rolling and becomes an established part of the Baseball Tonight family.

How do we make it a reality?

First, take all the entries and compile a list of everything GOOD you see. Everyone will have different ideas and no one will cover everything, so make an "everything" list.

Second, take all the ideas that are marginal or would flat-out not work. Compile those as well. Those can be used to keep the program on track and help you see what might be pitfalls in the future.

Third, write a letter to the programming execs at ESPN. Don't mess around here. Give them enough information to whet their whistle, and then request an in-person meeting to further discuss the program.

Fourth, get the MLB involved, if only for the legal matters (whatever they might be). Find out who at the MLB would need to be in on the program discussions (not on-air, I mean production, legal, etc).

I would also contact card companies about sponsorship, with details to be hammered out (making sure they have NO say-so in content).

Remember, the final question is ALWAYS, "What's in it for us?" ESPN benefits because they are adding programming that will reach a specific audience. They will also possibly bring in peripheral demographics because word will get out (more on that in a second) and collectors who do not watch Baseball Tonight will tune in to see the latest Baseball Cards Tonight segment.

Sponsors will benefit because they will have very little cost in making a 15-second commercial for their product. This will reach the folks that do not browse the aisles at Wal-Mart, or hit the card shows, or may have long forgotten there was a card shop in town.

Getting the word out - Do it all. TV spots on ESPN, Twitter, Bloggers, Online ads with MLB, ESPN.com, Podcasting, etc.

This is a VERY exciting prospect, and given the right people in charge with the right motivation, this CAN be a reality!

davidinark

 

Here are the rest of the essays - read them all - there are some great ideas here!

Here's my plan for the new baseball card segment on ESPN's Baseball Tonight

ESPN are the biggest television channel dedicated solely to sports on the entire planet.

Their program schedule is full to the brim of interesting, exclusive, first-run broadcasts, and thus to get a baseball card segment on a such such as "Baseball Tonight", an almighty good presentation must ensue.

You must convince ESPN management that such a segment is something they need, and will attract audience members, because at the end of the day, every television channel lives and dies by sponsorship figures, which are in-turn dictated by audience viewership ratings.

The reality is to begin with, getting a nightly spot on "Baseball Tonight" is absolutely unrealistic, and going gung-ho at promoting such an idea will only put ESPN top brass off-side.

A 5-minute weekly segment, at least for the first 3 episodes, airing late in the show, but at the exact same time each week, would be a good place to begin selling the idea of such a segment.

I feel the segment should be hosted by a designated baseball card "expert", whether it be a legendary baseball card collector, or a sports card hobby shop owner.

Because time on television is limited and precious, the host should go through the week's best value buys. These including:

-The baseball card/s that have risen by value the most during the past week;
-Vintage baseball cards that continue to fetch top dollar; and,
-Cards of rookie baseballers whose future value looks set to skyrocket.

Also, maybe including some feature baseball cards that have dropped markedly in value throughout either the previous week, or through recent times, as well as general trends of recent periods for certain cards.

Now, as far as where to go to try and sell this idea, obviously banding together with fellow baseball card collectors through such websites as this one, and through local card hobby shops and the like, maybe a petition could be signed, and then sent to both Major League Baseball and ESPN.

As well, a full pitch and details of the segment could be included.

Emailing MLB headquarters and ESPN is another avenue, though the chances of getting past the front desk and getting the message to the people who make these decisions could be difficult.

Maybe also trying to contact prominent people involved with the production and broadcast of "Baseball Tonight", such as hosts, production staff, etc., could be a valuable avenue to target.

The key to it all is persistence. If we make contact with ESPN and MLB and get nowhere first, then keep trying. Usually, you'll find persistence pays off in the end, if you are genuinely committed to what you are doing, and believe wholeheartedly in it.

I hope this helps give some sort of an idea on how to go about getting a segment to air on "Baseball Tonight" revolving around the collection and selling of baseball cards.

Anthony Brady


Here's my plan for the new baseball card segment on ESPN's Baseball Tonight

Press Release:
Steve Phillips to host new weekly "Hot List" segement on Baseball Tonight.

ESPN's Baseball tonight in conjunction with Beckett Baseball to host a new weekly segment. ESPN has been looking for a new segement to bring in a new audience and expand their viewership. They now think that they have the answer. Beckett Baseball, the leading baseball card pricing publication will be coordinating efforts weekly on a new segment to be called "Hot List". Every Sunday night Steve Phillips, an avid baseball card collector himself, will host the new segement.

The focus of the program will be on one player that was hottest during the previous week .The three minute segment will show weekly statistics as to why this player was chosen, as well as highlights of the player's red hot performance during the week. Steve Phillips will choose three cards that are key to baseball card collectors. Typically this will be a RC, a key autograph, key relic card, or other pertinent cards that have hobby appeal as chosen by Steve himself. Steve will provide insight as to the hobby significance of the cards. Beckett Baseball will assist the producers with pricing and pictures of the cards.

ESPN is looking forward to expanding their viewing audience by tapping into the baseball card collecting hobby. In addition to the weekly segment, they have also committed to broadcasting some of the major events in the baseball card hobby such as key sales, signings, national conventions and other important events in the baseball card collecting hobby. Beckett Baseball will hopefully be expanding their subscriber base and is excited about the opportunity to have airtime with a successful nation program.

The first episode scheduled to air on 6/22/08 will focus on Josh Hamilton, who is coincidently featured on the cover of the August edition of Beckett Baseball.

Tom Moss


Here's my plan for the new baseball card segment on ESPN's Baseball Tonight

ESPN can use a new weekly segment (about 5 minutes long each week) devoted to baseball cards. It would be hosted by a former player along with a collector. The show could be sponsered by one of the card companies or by a magazine such as Becketts. Each week would highlight a different aspect of cards.

The first episode would be an introduction to the segment, explaining just a bit of baseball card history. After that, each segment would be on a topic about baseball cards. These topics could be sustained for a long time. One topic would be to talk to a player about his own cards - does he collect, what he remembers about the day the picture was taken, etc. Another topic would be similar to "Web Gems", where a great play in the field is pictured on the card, such as the 2007 Upper Deck Endy Chavez or Gary Matthews cards. Another segment could showcase a personal collection, similar to an Anitiques Roadshow format. Another segment could be a tour of the baseball card factories to show how cards are designed and produced. During the postseason, a topic can show cards of past playoff/world series games discussing highlights of these games. Another piece could talk about the high value cards, both modern and vintage. An additional episode can feature game used/autographed cards. Cards of former award winners (MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year) could highlight an off-season episode, while talking about their accomplishments, or a mid-season topic discussing the starting players for the All-Star game and their cards. The beginning of the season could highlight the new sets coming out for the year. Other segments could focus on cards that are grouped grouped topically, such as fun cards where the player is laughing or blowing a big bubble; oddball cards; regional cards; "strange" ames (like Bob Walk or Grant Balfour for a pitcher); vintage cards; etc. Whenever a player is in the news, such as a record breaker, play of the week, memorial of a player, or historical event, a segment could revolve around that theme, showing those types pf cards. Once a year, the segment could tke a road trip and head to a major card show.

Segments could also be produced to involve the fan. One type would have fans are asked to vote. Some could be where they just vote for their favorite card/set from a multiple choice list. This could even become a competition, where winners of one poll are pitted against winners of other polls. Other polls could show cards of players during great seasons or games, explaining the greatness of the event, and asking voters to select their favorite. One such event might be showing a card of Fernando Tatis when he hit 2 grand slams in one inning versus a card of a pitcher who struck out 20 in one game.

As the segment gets more established, it could also have the fans write in/call in with questions. Contests could also be held for card flipping (I remember at least 3 types) with prizes given out.

If these ideas were pitched directly to the producers of ESPN, they would have great interest in doing this type of segment.

Andrew Algava


Here's my plan for the new baseball card segment on ESPN's Baseball Tonight

Scheduled during the Sunday Night Baseball pregame edition of Baseball Tonight, a seven-to-ten minute weekly segment would attract current collectors and perhaps interest possible newcomers to the hobby.

The first night would introduce the new feature and talk about the history of cards and focus on the '52 Mantle, the '89 Griffey, and the '08 Bruce.

The second episode would focus on Joe Schmoe (a typical fan/collector) from Kansas City who has a huge Royals shrine in his home. It goes beyond cards, but would basically be a video version of the old Beckett Fan-Of-The Month.

Show number three would feature Al Rosen (or another very veteran dealer) who would talk about the love of collecting and some of the off-the-wall stuff people buy.

Each edition would include something about releases from the previous week mentioning some of the rookies, vets, autos, etc in the product (possible box break results). Another weekly feature would be a quickie with a current player (one that collected as a youth) who can discuss their favorite player and their recollection about their cards. (If they are a big enough collector, a Joe Schmoe feature could be done on them.

This proposal has a mix of stories, regular feature segments, and advertising (which helps support the hobby, the companies, and the players in the union). It would be very inexpensive to produce (big in the industry). Upper Deck and Topps may even choose to jointly provide the advertising budget.

The bottom line is that it would be a win-win for all corners of this fun, generation-crossing endeavor.

Jeff Shaw


Here's my plan for the new baseball card segment on ESPN's Baseball Tonight

I envision that the producers will give about 5 minutes to this segment that I call "Five Minutes, Topps." The five minutes would be split into two segments.

Some homework would need to be done by pages and others to contact various players--current and former--and compiling answers to various questions about their baseball card collecting experiences from childhood to the present--first cards, favorite cards, card memories, card stories, etc. They would also ask questions about their experiences with their own baseball cards.

In the first part of the segment, the current show hosts would, of course, introduce the segment, using computer-generated graphics. Early on at first, the show's hosts would pose a 4-item multiple choice question to the viewers, who would then be given 5 minutes to text in or email their answers. (Marketing potential for cell phone companies or e-mail services). At the end of the show, in the second part of the segment, the hosts would reveal that nights' winner.

As the segment gains popularity with the viewers, which of course, it would, instead of the hosts posing the question, it could be a player or manager (current or former), or even an owner, who would pose the question via live feed from dugout, live feed from somewhere else, or by previous taped segment.

Questions should be interesting information about that players collecting experiences that fans of that player would want to know.

Winners each segment would get some swag and, of course, a particular card or so many packs of cards--maybe 10--from Topps. Winners of each segment would be put into a drawing for a grand prize like an insiders tour of a card-making factory of a signing session or tickets to the All-Star game.

Mic Platt


Here's my plan for the new baseball card segment on ESPN's Baseball Tonight

Note that this 5 minute show will run weekly on ESPN following the presentation of Web Gems for the week.

"It,s now time for our weekly spotlight of Gem Cards... those baseball cards that all baseball card collectors would just love to own. Like Web Gems, we will spotlight five great baseball cards each week and allow you the fans to vote on the card you would most like to own. Your votes will be tabulated, and the card collecting world will find out the winning card from the previous week. Will it be a Game Used Bat Card of Ken Griffey Jr.? A hard to find Ichiro Rookie card? Or maybe an autograph of David Wright?
Your votes will tell us the answer.

Also we will conclude our Gem Card segment with Vintage Corner where you the viewer will vote each week on those Hall of Famers, those stars of the grand old days of baseball that have the greatest appeal to be a part of your baseball card collection. Will it be Aaron over Mantle or McGwire over Mays? Or who's card would you really like to own a Nolan Ryan or a Roger Clemens? So don't forget each week on Sunday's Baseball Tonight, Web Gems followed by Card Gems and Vintage Corner on ESPN. Baseball card collecting will never be the same."

Indybob


Here's my plan for the new baseball card segment on ESPN's Baseball Tonight

The segment should be about each analyst opening a pack of cards and commenting on what they got. The episodes will highlight different points of each analyst's life as they open the packs. They can use their sayings or catch phrases to make it sound more interesting.

The first episode should be the analysts as little kids. Someone that resembles them at a younger age will make it funnier. The kids should be wearing the usual attire that is worn on the show. This episode will show how little kids are interested in baseball cards and the excitement behind opening packs and boxes when they are young. At the same time they can talk about their current baseball experiences. John Kruk for example can imagine what it is like to maybe one day have a baseball card of himself. This will foreshadow what happens in the following episodes.

The next episode will take place at a later age, maybe in the teens, where the analysts will show the difference in collecting cards at that age. They now have a job on the side, so they don't have to depend on their parent's money to buy baseball cards. They can also be talking about their current experiences with baseball. Like how John Kruk is being scouted by a MLB team or how good he is doing at his current age.

The third episode will be at again a later age. Here John Kruk is actually a baseball player and opens a pack and finds his baseball card. His dream actually came true. This will inspire kids to dream more and buy baseball cards.

The rest of the episodes, or even all the episodes, the analysts can be trading cards of actually trades that took place in real life and commenting on how bad or good they are. We all made stupid decisions on baseball card trades so we can compare them to real life ones. Like John Kruk offering a Scott Kazmir rookie card for Victor Zambrano to Steve Philips.

alexis.simeonidis


Here's my plan for the new baseball card segment on ESPN's Baseball Tonight

My idea for an opening segment would be an approach likening cards to stocks. After all we have all seen how the card market is A LOT like a stock market. So you lay out a few players who are hot and a few who are clearly not. The catch line could be "BUY" or "SELL". So some players are then mentioned then the question is asked whether you would buy or sell the cards of that player.

Imagine Bermen hosting it and asking Jay Mariotti if he would be buying or selling his Griffey collection right now. The questions of whether a hot rookie is worth the risk of heavy investment when he can bust a leg doesn't get talked about in Beckett. People are paying huge dollars for young players that haven't proven anything. So it begs the question of do you risk your money on these guys or look for solid investments like the 89 Griffey.

Young players inevitably have a lull in their career. That's when you buy. If your out buying Adrian Peterson right now I'd urge you to rethink it. Don't forget Edgerrin. His stuff is a bargain right now. 9 years ago I wouldn't have touched it. He's still the colts all time leading RB. I know I'm throwing some FB in there but it could work for any sport.

How about the question of whether to collect for value or what you just like. Everyone has a favorite team, but is that team a sound investment? How do you find the middle ground? have a segment on this. Go through teams and find prospects AND the historical players from the past. Which to buy which to sell?

Is the high end stuff really better? or just more expensive. After all an auto is an auto whether its on a SP Auth. RC or on a cheaper Topps card. Do you buy boxes or buy individual cards? That's an argument people can easily have.

I'll just leave it at this. A segment on TV could have a lot of topics. The only way it would be interesting is to have a person who KNOWS THE HOBBY involved. Chris Berman doesn't know what SP Authentic is. But he knows Baseball and Football. I just think someone coming out and bringing up classic stuff that a lot of people have forgotten about such as the peel off Topps Finest and cool autos from 2001 Quantum Leaf FB would be cool and raise arguments as to "What's Best to Invest".

Jake England
 

 

 

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