Baseball has gotten serious about authenticating game-used items, employing an army of current and former law enforcement officials to get the job done.
It’s still a small slice of each team’s revenue pie, but it’s growing.
Authenticated game-used and game-worn items are now being sold by the teams themselves, generating thousands of dollars per game in many cases. What was once a matter of opinion is now virtually ironclad thanks to MLB-hired authenticators who attend each game, tagging items with a special hologram.
The Yankees take it more seriously than most, taking just about any moment and turning it into memorabilia. They even have an "authentication room" inside the new Yankee Stadium, which is hopefully busier than the luxury seats the club has been trying to sell in a tight economy. The room is a first for pro sports.
The MLB team includes ten dozen agents, kept busy putting their mark on everything from game-used baseballs to bases to resin bags.
“As long as it is witnessed by an authenticator, there’s no limit to what can be authenticated,” Michael Posner, who oversees the program for M.L.B., said.
The New York Times has a fresh update on the state of the sport’s big move into memorabilia.