Mike Schmidt is kind of an ass.
He always has something to say, usually when he visits the Phillies’ spring training complex or when he professes his somewhat uncomfortable love for ESPN’s Mike and Mike. [There was the time Michael Jack threw Chooch under the bus, and that other time he said the Phillies, coming off three straight NLCS appearances, were underachievers.]
Today, Schmidt has a new soapbox on which to stand and shout his mindless babble: the massive media powerhouse that is the Associated Press.
Yes, Schmidt wrote an article for the AP today, meaning that virtually every major news outlet in the world will have access to his important message… about the legibility of autographs.
This spring, while with the Phillies in camp, I asked the clubhouse guy to get me some famous Phillies on balls for my charity auction. I must sign thousands every year for charity. It's funny how you get tired of the same requests over and over until you need one.
Anyway, I get 10 signed balls given to me in a box that I bring home. A few weeks later, I'm doing inventory on some items I have gotten for the auction and I open the box of balls and I can't read any of the signatures. I study and study, hoping to see a curve or a clue that would lead me to the name.
I asked my wife if she recognized any. None. I made out Roy Halladay, Jim Thome and Jimmy Rollins. A couple had the number , thank you Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Cliff Lee and Hunter Pence. That was a great clue, at least for me, but what about the person who buys it at the auction and may not know the numbers?
My signature's value has never changed over the years. Sure, I know there is a class system in the industry, certain signatures retain value and others don't. In my case, one reason it has retained value is it's neat and you can read it. It is legible, shows respect and looks as though I put some effort into the process of creating a collectible item.
Probably too much to ask for a wholesale change in attitude from both sides. As if the players will sign neat and speak to the fans while signing, and fans and collectors will respect the player's right to privacy in certain areas and not stalk them near hotels and airports.
Autograph utopia: Neat signatures, kind words, handshakes, no pushing or shoving, quality opposed to quantity. Any chance?
Me, I just want to know which Phillies signed those balls.
That’s amazing. I’m too young, 29, to really remember what Mike Schmidt was like. I know that I’ve met him and gotten his autograph at some point, but I can’t remember when or where. What I do remember, however (mostly from stories), is how Schmidt never quite gelled with fans and was far from the type of guy who would happily oblige overzealous autograph seekers. I also remember how he was frequently booed and considered by many to be, well, a jackass.
Despite those things, what you just read was Schmidt, writing for the Associated Press, complaining about the autographs on a bunch of balls the 2012 Phillies signed for his charity. I’m not even sure how to categorize that. So instead, I wrote you an analogy of sorts:
You know what I really hate? Paparazzi and celebrity culture. Can’t a movie star or athlete go out to a bar, get drunk, and not have to worry about their picture winding up online? If some jackass with a cell phone takes a shot of a famous person at a compromising moment, must it be the lead story on a dick-joke laden blog the next day? And what’s the deal with block-quoting shit? WRITE YOUR OWN WORDS. Too many “writers” lazily rely on the journalistic chops of others to make a living. Oh yeah, real cool, quote an article, throw in a few jokes about peni, and, boom– artwork. And don’t get me started on someone who would be silly and faux irreverent enough to post a sophomoric bar drawing of a Nationals fan blowing the Phanatic. Can’t we go back to the good old days when Murrow and Kronkite and Will McAvoy delivered us the news fairly, but with necessary and passionate context for an informed electorate? I want that back.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a post to get to about Chase Utley’s hair, which exclusive photo evidence confirms he is having dyed.
[Read Schmidt's full article here, and just about everywhere.]