Baseball Autographs Go High Tech

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For Brandon Steiner, whose Steiner Sports sells autographed photos and memorabilia costing hundreds of dollars and more, Egraphs is something "aimed at the lower end of the market" and a product "that doesn't have legs."

"I don't understand how that's a collectible," said Steiner, whose company began in 1987. "I don't understand why somebody would want that, a facsimile autograph. It's kind of like a replica jersey that people get when they're 6 years old."

Mattingly, for one, likes the high-tech approach.

"Let's say you would sign for a Steiner or a different company like that, you would sign about 200 things. You don't know where they're going or how they're going. But this is kind of cool because you kind of have a little background of who it is and how they're connected with you. You actually get a message from the person, like: 'This is Bill and Angie. We're getting married, and we've been big fans of yours,'" he said. "And then when you leave your little voice mail, it's almost like saying: 'Hey Bill and Angie, congratulations on getting married. Thanks for being a fan.' So it actually feels a bit more personal than it would be if you were to do some of the stuff in bulk.

"You think about people that have baseball rooms that they put all their stuff in. Well, now you keep it on a hard drive. And with TV the way it is, you can be scrolling all your stuff over your TV and it takes up a lot less room."

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