Ovechkin carries a big stick

Last week was quite busy for me, as usual. The Giants signing finally wound down (there is one more guy left to sign), and in the midst of all that organized chaos, we had a public appearance (and private signing) with the best hockey player on the planet. Here is a sampling of last week’s blog entries:

First and foremost, we are almost done with the Giants signing. I will do one last post/recap on it later. It has been beyond exciting, and I cannot wait for you all to see the robust product line that will soon be unveiled. Anyway, I just returned home from our appearance at the Steiner Sports Store with Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin. Ovechkin has become a household name and is, by far, the best hockey player on the planet.

Despite all those accolades, I was still a little pessimistic about a Caps player signing in Long Island … I was way wrong. There was a sickly huge line awaiting the fashionably late mega-star. There were a ton of kids wearing No. 8 jerseys salivating for an autograph from Alex. He did not disappoint. We got through the entire line in no time, while he took photos with everyone holding a camera or camera phone (camera phones have become a new pet peeve of mine. I am so down on them. They take way too long to use. What happened to disposables?)

After the public portion, we took Alex to the stockroom to sign some pieces in private. I was able to build up a pretty strong variety of items for our inventory over that hour or so. Ovechkin signed Caps pucks, mini-helmets, jerseys and a few different amazing images in both 8-by-10 and 16-by-20.

So I was wrong about the turnout (not the first time and surely not the last). What I did realize today is that Ovechkin completely transcends hockey. He is the biggest star in the game and even the casual observer or fan (like myself) is familiar with the name and face. Alex is a must-have autograph for any hockey collector.

I was off for President’s Day, my first day off in the better part of a month. After that short break, I am back on the road. On Feb. 19, I flew out to Oregon for a private signing with 1998 World Series MVP Scott Brosius. It should make for quite a blog entry, as should the Giants recap later on.
Check back for an update from McMinnville, Ore.

The Giants team signing will finally be complete in a few days, and boxing superstar Miguel Cotto will be appearing. Should be a lot to talk about next week.

*  *  *  *  *

So the Giants team signing is finally over. Last Saturday, we were finally able to put Pro Bowl defensive end Osi Umeniyora on the pieces. Osi was the lone G-Man to participate in Hawaii (which is a crime within itself), so it took a little longer to get him up to the office. Then, in my absence (due to the Oregon trip, which will be my next post), head coach Tom Coughlin came up Wednesday night. Coach was the final name on the pieces. Everything came out unbelievably strong. It was, by far, the most exciting three weeks I have ever had in this business.

There is always a lot of energy when doing a team signing after a championship, but coupled with the fact that it was not only a New York team but actually one that I root for, it was absolutely amazing (that was definitely a run-on sentence). Over the course of the past few weeks, I have heard so many incredible stories about the game and the parade. I probably had the most fun listening in on the offensive linemen. They all came up together and collectively are totally out of their minds … it was great.

So after all the hard work and late nights, we are actually left with slim pickings on product. Almost everything is sold out or close to being sold out, so I recommend ordering something ASAP. I rarely push product on this blog, but I am so proud of these pieces that I don’t feel too bad about doing it this one time. All the robust photos, jerseys and helmets are among the best items I have ever gotten signed. We even did a handful of helmets where practically every player put an inscription ranging from “SBXLII Champs!” (never get tired of hearing that) to “18-1!”… wickedly strong! This team is one of, if not the, most special in New York sports history. I am fairly confident you will be hearing a lot more about them on th
e blog over the next few months as we start having a few public appearances and more signings overall.
Tuesday night, I hopped on a plane from JFK to Portland. The purpose of my journey was a signing with 1998 World Series MVP Scott Brosius. We have been working on a 1998 team project for a few months, and despite the far distance to travel, it was time to add arguably the most important autograph to the pieces.

I landed in Portland at about 11 p.m. Pacific time. Unfortunately, the signing was not in Portland … it was in McMinnville, which is about an hour or so southwest of the city (think middle of nowhere).

I finally arrived at my meeting room-less motel at about 1 a.m. and proceeded to move all the furniture around in my room (as to make space to set up bats, jerseys, baseballs, etc.). I somehow made it work and got a few hours of sleep before the time change set in and I was up way before the sun came up.

Scott popped in at 10 a.m. sharp and banged through the signing in no time. Brosius is now a coach at Oregon’s Linfield College and really seems to be loving life back in his home state. It took Scott less than an hour-and-a-half to knock out the signing, and I was left with a bed and floor full of product (nowhere to move in the room). It took me about three-and-a-half-hours to pack up and prep the items to ship back to New York. That left me eight … yes, eight … hours until my flight. There is only one flight a day back to New York, so I didn’t have too much of a choice. Rather than spend my remaining Oregon time in fun-filled McMinnville, I instead headed back to the airport to catch the Suns-Lakers game on ESPN. I finally landed in New York at 8 a.m.

Thursday and, soon after, went out to New Jersey for a signing with Michael Strahan … which will be a story for another day.

This week I will be down in Ft. Myers, Fla., at Red Sox spring training for a few signings. Over the next 30 days or so I will be all over the state of Florida banging out signings … should make for some awesome posts.

For more information on Eric and his blog visit www.SteinerSports.com and the Steiner Marketplace at www.SteinerMarketplace.com.

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