by Rich Klein
Like many other proud relatives, I have a niece who is not only impossibly beautiful but also impossibly talented. In case you want proof of both of these facts, please go to her web site (SarahWittMusic.com) to both see what I mean and listen to her sing. This past Sunday she performed five songs at the annual D-Bat Mustangs baseball club general meeting at Cottonwood Creek Baptist Church in Allen, Tex. (not to be too proud, but she did a perfect job singing our National Anthem a cappella and in perfect pitch).
Unlike my wife and mother-in-law I decided to stay for the main program, and since these are what are now called "select" team,s we are usually dealing with baseball players who are looking to make it not only as a high school player but as far as they can go up the ladder. During the program several names of major leaguers and future major leaguers involved with the Mustangs were invoked.
The best known alumni of the program are Clayton Kershaw and Jordan Walden, both of whom played in the 2011 All-Star game. In addition, two members of the program, Archie Bradley and Dylan Bundy were among the top 10 players selected in the 2011 MLB amateur draft. When I saw Archie Bradley's name my first thought was I have an autograph of his. From checking some of the past reviews, sure enough there was this card: Bowman Chrome Draft Autograph Refractor (#d to 500): Archie Bradley. Now I really hope Archie has as much success in his career as either Kershaw or Walden.
Because Sarah had sung songs at the event, she was allowed, along with other vendors, to set up a booth to meet her new fans and sign some autographs. She did impress the organizers enough that she was invited to return for 2013.
During the event, she was sitting near the front so I stayed at the booth to witness the rest of the program. Seeing her booth set up reminded me not only of many of the booths you see at both large and smaller autograph venues but also just how important it is for fans to feel that they make a personal contact with the players whose autograph they are pursuing.
This event also made me think about how often you hear about young people practicing their autograph for the time when fans will actually want to get autographs from these players. Last time we discussed some of the early autograph shows I attended in the 1980s, right now we are discussing some people who will be signing at future shows or for future card sets.
When I write reviews of Bowman products, my standard line is "check back with us in about five years to see how we really did with our autographs and other hits". Seeing this program yesterday reminded me that not only do we not know the future for athletes but we also do not know the future for singers or other aspiring entertainers. Sarah got her first start in really meeting fans yesterday and as her very proud uncle I will be watching anxiously to see her continue to develop just the way she has developed as a singer. Trust me, she has developed already as a singer for the first time she ever "performed" in public was at my wedding and someday I hope to hold that video over her head as ransom. It will be interesting to see if Archie Bradley or Dylan Bundy also continue to grow and improve the way Sarah has. After all, I have a very vested emotional interest in Sarah and a minor financially vested interest in Archie as well.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]