by Greg Johnson
Those of us in the hunt for signed baseballs to add to our collection would love to set ourselves apart from the crowd. We'd love to have the inside scoop to be able to get autographs easier. If you have wondered if there are things you can do to be ahead of the curve and get a piece of game worn memorabilia or an autograph without as much effort as the next guy, the answer is yes.
The Internet has really made it easier for the baseball fan and baseball collector to be able to get close to players. Facebook and Twitter are a perfect example of such things. There are many baseball players who have accounts like these and they use them to communicate with their fans. In addition, baseball teams themselves have social network accounts.
If you currently have social networking accounts and want to get ahead of most fans, I advise that you look to become 'fans' or 'friends' of these teams and players. A lot of the times, teams give information on upcoming signing events or other types of gatherings that you can attend to try and get autographs. The advantage of knowing these things in advance is that a lot of times these events require people to sign up in advance, and you can use this knowledge to sign up early, guaranteeing you don’t miss out on the opportunity.
Teams will also provide a heads-up on special game-used memorabilia sales or other promotions.
Some players are very involved with their accounts and I have seen some do random giveaways just for answering questions or things of that nature. One player I can think of is Heath Bell, the closer for the San Diego Padres. During the playoff run this past season, Bell gave away tickets to games and signed balls to the first few people that replied to him on his Twitter account. I have seen other players do similar things and it really makes a fan appreciate that players are willing to give back to the fans.
Minnesota Twins' pitcher Pat Neshek is a collector himself, who will trade autographs and memorabilia with fans.
Look up as many players as you want and add them to your Facebook and/or Twitter account. Just make sure that you've got the 'official' Twitter or Facebook page of that particular athlete. Even if you don't see the athlete offer a free signed baseball, both are nice ways for players to connect with fans in a more personal fashion and sometimes you'll get a kick out of what they post. Many are very humble nd have lives that, off the field, really aren't that different than the ones we're living.
Players are sometimes more likely to interact with fans if they can do it on their own terms, at their own convenience.