This is not about ripping Keith Olbermann. If you want to do that, you can start with “Why I Think Trump Is Finished (And My Work Is Done),” from November 28, 2017, a time at which Trump was far from finished. You can go forward or backward from there, it doesn’t really matter, and he’d admit himself that he can rub people the wrong way.
The best thing about Olbermann is his obsession with getting dogs adopted and saving them from death. The former SportsCenter anchor also is a passionate baseball memorabilia collector, and he’s selling the ball from Carlton Fisk’s 1975 World Series home run to raise money to help dogs. That’s great!
What’s not great is Olbermann’s choice of how to sell the Fisk ball, on a “fractional investing platform” called Collectable.
What does that mean? According to Collectable’s website, “fractional ownership allows many people to share ownership in one item. With Collectable, users can purchase ownership shares of high-end sports memorabilia, giving them fractional ownership of that item.”
You may have tried something like this with your friends in elementary school, switching off days with a prized possession until it breaks, or there’s an argument over whose day it is, or someone loses interest. The Simpsons did an episode about this concept’s inevitable doom 30 years ago.
The key difference between Radioactive Man No. 1 and the Fisk ball is that if you buy a fraction of the Fisk ball with a thousand other people, you don’t get to have it in your house once every thousand days. You simply own a share in a baseball.
“Collecting physical items can come with its own set of hassles — everything from listing, shipping, marketing, insurance, and maintenance,” Collectable says on its site. “By owning fractional shares of an item on Collectable, you can leave those pain points to us! Simply enjoy the pride of ownership without any unnecessary burdens whatsoever.”
You get “‘pride of ownership,” while Collectable gets the actual item, to be “stored in best-of-class bank caliber vaults with state-of-the-art security monitoring and rigorous access control.”
This is where Olbermann is making a mistake. If he believes, as he says, that the ball should be owned by Red Sox fans, that should mean more than Kevin in Marblehead being able to say, “yeah, I own a share of the Fisk ball.” The real owner is whoever actually has the ball, and Collectable is just selling clout.
The ball could have a nice home at Fenway Park, where it was hit in the first place 46 years ago, and could be added to the “Living Museum” experience that the Sox call their ballpark tour. Perhaps it could be displayed at Town Hall in Charlestown, N.H., where Fisk grew up. There are lots of ways to ensure that the historic ball isn’t just conceptually owned by Red Sox fans, but actually able to be appreciated by them.
And if you’re a Red Sox fan who really wants to own some 1970s memorabilia, you can have it. The 1973 Topps Carl Yastrzemski card — the Carl Yastrzemski with the big sideburns — can be found for under $20. And you actually get to keep it in your house.