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Braves 5, Cubs 0
Tigers 5, Sox 2
Lightning 7, Hawks 4
OL Reign 3, Red Stars 2
Cubs at Braves (6:20, Marquee)
Bulls at Knicks (6:30, ESPN)
Tigers at Sox (7:10, NBCSCH)
Good morning, frents!
So it’s been just over a year since “The Last Dance” got us through the early parts of the pandemic. I loved each of those five Sunday nights and the playoff feel we had all day before each pair of episodes aired.
The miniseries was great for a Chicago sports newsletter during a time of no sports. I recapped each Sunday night the morning after and even wrote some Jordan adjacent content.
The most popular was my piece on Andrew Goldberg, the Highland Park native who's trying to collect a ticket stub to every professional game that MJ ever played.
All 1,264 of them.
With a year of nothing to do but scour eBay and work some of the contacts he made from my piece, I recently caught up with Andrew to see how his collection is going.
Kevin: It's hard to believe, but it's been a year since I wrote about your unique Michael Jordan ticket collection. It’s still one of Midway Minute’s most-read newsletters and I know that it spurred a lot of attention your way in terms of ending up on radio shows and podcasts. How are you dealing with your newfound and immense fame?
Andrew: Ha! Well, the past year has been a blast. I’ve been able to meet many folks in the media and in the ticket world. I can’t say that I’m “famous” but it’s been a lot of fun talking about my collection and watching the market really grow.
K: When that newsletter first came out, you'd collected tickets to 871 of Michael Jordan’s 1,264 professional games. How many have you obtained in the year since? And have you been able to find any of your “white whales?”
A: I'm now up to 976 unique games, so just over 100 more. I've been able to close out a few "runs" within the collection, too. I now have all 35 Finals games and the complete playoff runs for 1991 and 1996. I'm still looking for the 63-point playoff game vs Boston in 1986, though. In talking to a lot of people, I believe I still have the largest Michael Jordan ticket stub collection in the world.
K: You told me that a lot of people contacted you after the article. Either they wanted to sell you old stubs they had lying around or, in some cases, they just wanted to send them to you for free. Any good stories come out of those meetings?
A: That’s been the most amazing part! I've received more 150 messages from folks who have tickets they'd be willing to part with.
There are many great stories, but one man named George had a few Jordan tickets and told me that he’d been trying to collect every ticket from Brett Favre’s consecutive start streak (about 300 in all). He told me he could relate to my challenge because he had given up trying to complete his. He showed me a picture of a ticket I needed from Jordan’s Wizards years and he offered to send it to me without asking for any money. He also showed me pictures of three Bulls home games from the 1997 Finals — Games 1, 2 and 6. They were all full and unused and looked to be in great condition. I asked him to let me know if he’d be willing to part with them one day and if he’d like to work something out.
George didn’t respond regarding the Finals tickets, but a few days later, I received the Wizards ticket in the mail. And I was blown away to also find that he sent me the Finals tickets too, as a gift! I immediately looked for any Favre tickets I had and sent them to him as a surprise. He was so happy to receive them and said it inspired him to start up his collection. I sent the Finals tickets to PSA and the Game 6 clincher came back as a ‘9.’ It’s now one of my prized possessions.
K: That’s great! Have any of those people who contacted you offered to buy your collection?
A: I haven’t had any offers to buy the collection yet, but my stance hasn’t changed. I've sold some doubles here and there — to fund purchasing tickets I'm missing. But other than that, I don't have any intention of selling the collection. I can't wait to share it with my two sons who were born during the Last Dance release last year. And wouldn't you know it? They are Taurus — my two little Bulls.
K: Have you thought about starting a website to display the collection? The guy who runs CarltonFisk.com maintains a digital archive of all the Fisk tickets he’s collected and it’d be a cool way for Jordan fans around the world to see what you’re collecting.
A: I’ve met the guy who has the Carlton Fisk collection — nicest person you could meet. He's actually helped me out with some great tickets for my collection. I would love to have a site like his. Maybe when my boys are a bit older.
K: Is it getting harder to find tickets? You find a lot on eBay and I assume that prices have gone up there.
A: Stub prices for Jordan tickets have gone up across the board. Fortunately, it also means I've been able to sell some doubles at a higher price so I can afford the newer price ranges
K: Where do you see Jordan memorabilia market going? It almost seems like there will always be interest in him, particularly since The Last Dance was such a hit.
A: Jordan was a cultural phenomenon. From what I've seen, his memorabilia goes up, can sometimes spike, but it never drops back below where it was, and usually plateaus at a higher level until the next jump in interest. Interest in tickets has grown since we last spoke, and I like to believe it will continue to grow.
Think about this: A PSA GEM MINT 10 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan Rookie sold this year for $738,000. Before The Last Dance, you could get it for $35,000. The PSA Pop Report says they have graded 316 at a 10. That's the universe. However, let's say you really want one, but can't afford $738K. Overall, PSA has graded or authenticated over 19,200 of the card. With that volume, in theory, more than 19,000 Jordan fans could have that special card.
Switching to tickets, the equivalent would be his NBA debut game in October 1984. What does the PSA Pop Report say about those tickets? They've seen about 20 of them. For any grade. That's it. From a scarcity and "special-ness" standpoint, one might think that ticket should be worth much more than a PSA 10 Rookie Card. The ticket market is still maturing. Only time will tell.
Thanks to Andrew for the time. If anyone has any stubs they're willing to part with, email him at AndrewLouis_One@yahoo.com.Get Midway Minute in your inbox for free
How many Game 7s did MJ play in during his career?
News and Results
Final: Braves 5, Cubs 0
At least we can say the Cubs offense has reached inconsistency. For a while, they were having trouble scoring three runs a game. Nowadays, they'll score 15 or 3 or 7 sometimes, but also zero — as they have in two of the past three and for the fourth time this season. They couldn't do anything Braves right-hander Ian Anderson (formerly of Jethro Tull) who allowed one hit and struck out eight over seven innings. It's like the Cubs hitters went to bat swinging little flutes and tried to play Anderson off, and he wasn't having it. His big pitch: the changeup, which the Cubs don't hit well no matter who is throwing it.
• Javier Baez rested his sore hamstring and Kris Bryant was reduced to pinch-hitting because of a sore right biceps. David Bote actually hit third and struck out three times. Ian Happ struck out twice, which helped to lower his batting average to .139.
• Right-hander Trevor Williams pitched well except for (and can't everyone say this?) one confrontation in the fifth with Ronald Acuña, who hit a solo homer 481 feet to give the Braves a 1-0 lead. It's too bad, because Williams had retired Acuña on a pop up with the bases loaded in the second.
Next: Kyle Hendricks (1-2, 5.68 ERA) faces Huascar Ynoa (1-1, 3.68) at 6:20 p.m. Wednesday.
Final: Tigers 5, White Sox 2
If you were giving Tony La Russa the benefit of the doubt that he was the right person to manage the White Sox again — or even that he was just not completely wrong for the job — all of that goodwill must have evaporated by now.
After the Sox fell to the Tigers with Lucas Giolito on the mound Tuesday night, it is painfully obvious that La Russa is in over his head. His decisions weren't the only reasons the Sox lost; the offense generated very little against Jose Ureña, and couldn't take advantage of five Tigers errors. But two of La Russa's decisions were clear mistakes, almost laughably so. Perhaps you even laughed, if only to avoid the anger.
First, he let Giolito melt down on the mound in the seventh after he had surpassed 100 pitches and clearly had nothing left in the tank during the Tigers deciding rally. The Sox bullpen came in relatively rested after the team did not play Monday. Giolito was coming off a disastrous start at Fenway Park eight days earlier and had done his job through six before finding trouble immediately in the seventh. By the time of Giolito's 114th pitch of the night, a 2-1 lead turned into a two-run deficit. Giolito, who said after the game he was frustrated because he had nothing left, never got the last out of the seventh.
It's at least the third time this season La Russa has taken responsibility for a loss because of a decision he made with a pitcher. We haven't even left April yet.
The other outrageous decision La Russa made came in the bottom of the eighth with the Sox rallying. Of course, this controversy has to do with Andrew Vaughn not getting to the plate, with La Russa instead letting Billy Hamilton hit with one out and two runners aboard.
Hamilton struck out and, doubling down on the dim, La Russa let Leury Garcia take a called third strike to end the inning. Vaughn stayed on the bench, as he does all too often in the first place.
La Russa's reasoning for letting the limp hit was jaw-dropping.
The Sox were down three runs and needed "a single"? To set up Nick Madrigal to hit another single, to get Tim Anderson to the plate? The funny thing is, Vaughn was more likely than Hamilton or Garcia to deliver one of those too.
It's one of the worst answers a Chicago manager has even given for any decision. Maybe the single worst answer — pun intended, not intended, don't care.
"Looking for a single!" Is it worse than Terry Bevington's infamous "fair/foul" debacle, or the general reign of Jim Essian? It's certainly not good! The Sox could have had A.J. Hinch to manage, or Carlos Beltrán, or, you know, name anyone else among 15 or 20 candidates. It's impossible to go back and fix the La Russa hiring, which never should have happened in the first place for off-the-field reasons alone. But it's not too late to end the mistake.
And there's no reason to wait. Some or perhaps many of the White Sox players were on board with La Russa being hired, notably José Abreu. It was for any number of reasonable reasons; if you look at his rèsumé and listen to his colleagues, people liked having Tony La Russa as their manager. But it's been a while since he's been in the saddle. Is that the reason, or is it because of La Russa's 76 years that he's a disaster in the making? Don't know, don't care. Jerry Reinsdorf needs to make the move now, before the disaster gets exponentially worse and the season is ruined.
ßLooking for a single! There's a phrase that pays not nearly enough.
Next: Carlos Rodón (3-0, 0.47 ERA) faces Casey Mize (1-2, 5.23) at 7:10 p.m. CDT
— David Brown
Tampa Bay clinched a playoff spot with this win. The Hawks ... moved one game closer to the end of the season. Tampa Bay cleaned up against the beloved in this weird pandemic season, going 7-0-1.
The Red Stars concluded their four-game Challenge Cup slate without a victory, but have all their national teamers back from camp and have 2 1/2 weeks of work before the regular season opener on May 16. The regular season schedule, by the way, was finally released on Tuesday. The first of 12 home games in Bridgeview comes May 22. Here's the team's release.
- Brad Biggs' Mock Draft 3.0 has the Bears trading up to No. 4 to select Trey Lance of North Dakota State. Tribune
- The Jackie Robinson West lawsuits were resolved on Tuesday. While the players and coaches were cleared of any wrongdoing, the team's national championship was not reinstated. WGN-TV
- Happy trails to Hector Rondon, the Cubs World Series champ who's retiring at the age of 33. Bleacher Nation
- Darnell Mayberry on what the Bulls might do with their big men, including Lauri Markkanen. The Athletic
- The next Hot Doug's just might be a father and daughter duo working out of a shipping container on the South Side. Eater Chicago
Trivia answer: Three. Two wins against the 1992 Knicks and 1998 Pacers, one loss against the 1990 Pistons.