Timing is everything.
The much-anticipated Major League arrival of Washington Nationals' pitching prospect Stephen Strasburg has coincided with the release of the year's most popular baseball card product and the result has been major media attention for a single card auction.
Just days after the 2010 Bowman series was released this month, the 1 of 1 Strasburg Chrome Superfractor was pulled from a pack.
The Virginia collector who found it quickly put it on eBay with an opening bid of 99 cents. Less than 24 hours later, bidding had topped $7,000. As of early Thursday morning, the bid stood at $16,001.
For many, the card represented everything that's wrong with the hobby. Speculation on unproven players--even those with the credentials like Strasburg--seems to be out of control in the case of manufactured scarcities. Yet, the card is generated tremendous media attention for a hobby that many outsiders have labeled as "dying".
Already, Yahoo Sports, the Associated Press, USA Today and other mainstream media outlets have carried stories about the auction, which now has over 2300 'watchers'. It has generated 83 bids with more than two days remaining in the auction.
According to the listing, the card even prompted someone to steal his scan and try to launch their own auctions, but it didn't take long for eBay to put an end to the shenanigans.