Operation Foul Ball came first. Then Operation Bullpen. Now, whatever the FBI and other federal authorities may label their latest look at the sports memorabilia industry could be the third domino to fall.
And it may happen soon.
The FBI has made its presence known during at least the last two National Sports Collectors Conventions. They’ve interviewed hobby executives, online forum moderators, collectors and others who may have knowledge about shill bidding, counterfeit memorabilia, shady business practices and card doctoring.
Several sources have indicated that the grand jury reviewing evidence in the case is edging closer to bringing indictments, possibly by the end of this month.
Some collectors and dealers are hoping to ward off what they believe is an avalanche of bad publicity through an organized effort toward emphasizing the overall health of the hobby and ethics of its membership.
There’s no word yet on the exact scope of the ongoing probe, believed to be based at the FBI’s Chicago office but Sunday’s New York Daily News provided information on what may lie ahead.