July 08, 2008

Jason Giambi, Mustache Quotients & Beckett on the Block

Watching the last Red Sox/Yankees series got me thinking: Jason Giambi's mustache makes him look a lot like Steve Balboni. That revelation brings up something I'm going to call The Mustache Quotient.

It seems like the facial hair that's most acceptable today is the goatee. Just look around; tons of players sport one. That's why it's so weird when a player (especially a Yankee) bucks the trend and goes for some upper lip action. But if we go back to Balboni's era, it seemed like everybody and their mother had a mustache. The MQ is the percentage of cards in a given baseball card set featuring players sporting mustaches. Here are the MQs for 1980 -1984:

1980: 360/726 = 49.59%
1981: 354/726 = 48.76%
1982: 432/792 = 54.54%
1983: 439/792 = 55.43%
1984: 420/792 = 53.03%

I would've thought the percentages much higher (like 75%), but I guess that's just the haze of nostalgia.

Beckett For Sale?
This is really old news, but I thought I'd mention it anyway, seeing as how it's also mentioned in the July issue of Card Trade: Back in May, The Dallas Business Journal reported that Apprise Media LLC was entertaining offers for Beckett Media. The article quotes Webster University economist Patrick Rishe as saying the company could fetch between $25 and $45 million. It also cites Beckett's recent change from many monthlies to its current, consolidated format as a possible misstep.

The situation brings up a few questions (aside from the very slim possibility that the price guides are waning in influence):

1. Is this the writing on the wall that the hobby isn't good for business? Or is it just a sign of restless, unfulfilled corporate greed?

2. Would Beckett Media flourish in a setting similar to F+W Publications? In addition to the Sports Collectors Digest family of publications, F+W publishes scores of other magazines and books across a vast spectrum of topics, from Log Homes Illustrated and Writer's Digest to Print and I.D. International Design.

Apprise Media's website doesn't really give a good idea of what they do or handle, but I guess the gist is that they're investors, with fingers in a number of pies, including a trade show behemoth (Canon Communications) and other publishing ventures. So are there other similar F+W's out there?

I'm not a financial reporter, or journalist of any kind, so what I suggest is based simply on something that on the surface feels like a good fit. That's why I think Apprise should look at Wizard, the comic book price guide/trade show empire.

Dallas Business Journal story (5/12/08)

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