Hello Melo, Goodbye Complacency

By Jason Klein

Originally Written For The Official Steiner Sports Blog – 2/25/11

It was an opportunity for the New York Knicks to honor their past, but instead, Legends Night was all about their future.

Chants of “Me-lo…Me-lo…Me-lo” rained down from above on Wednesday night at the World’s Most Famous Arena.  With team icons like Walt Frazier, Earl Monroe, and John Starks in attendance for scheduled halftime ceremonies, Carmelo Anthony made his debut in a Knicks uniform.

Carmelo Anthony Came Home, to New York.

After an electrifying video tribute, and a dramatic introduction, the prodigal son dropped 27 points, pulled down 10 boards, and put the buzz back into Madison Square Garden.

He came home.

Less than twenty-four hours after officially being acquired by the Knicks, the Brooklyn-born, and Syracuse Alum, Anthony joined forces with Amar’e Stoudemire to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 114-108, and in the process, give Knicks fans hope.

The NBA in 2011 is all about power alliances – top players hand-picking their landing spots to play alongside other superstars.  With STAT and ‘Melo, the Knicks now have their two stars.  For suffering Knicks fans, this development couldn’t be any more comforting.

The Batman and Robin-like union brings new expectations to the orange and blue.  Over the last nine seasons, the Knicks have averaged 31 wins.  That futile result is no longer acceptable.  It will take time for this team to gel, but they are now in a position to compete for a title every season.  No more excuses.

Despite rumors to the contrary, Knicks Owner, James Dolan confirmed Wednesday that Donnie Walsh – not Isiah Thomas – is responsible for this turnaround and for Anthony’s acquisition.  It took three seasons, but Walsh has managed to dig New York out of the dark hole Thomas left them in when he departed in 2008.

Wednesday night was not about the past though.  It was about a bright future, on the brightest of stages…Broadway.  The Knicks certainly paid a hefty price to land Anthony, but the players they parted with were nice role players at best.  Carmelo is a legitimate superstar – a top 5 talent in the NBA.  They are better equipped to compete with teams like Miami and Boston with ‘Melo.  Without him, they were just an above average team.  With him, they can be great.

Together, Stoudemire and Anthony will attract a lot of attention, and future big-name free agents, back to Madison Square Garden, setting the Knicks up to compete for a championship in the coming years.

Yes, like the history they honored Wednesday night, the future appears bright for the New York Knickerbockers.  Stoudemire was the first piece to the puzzle, but Anthony’s acquisition has put the sizzle back in MSG.  The Knicks are relevant, exciting, and capable of achieving greatness.

All because, he came home.

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Steiner Sports Did it Again in Twenty-Ten!

By Jason Klein

Originally Written For The Official Steiner Sports Blog – 12/22/10

The 2010 Steiner Sports year moved faster than Brett Gardner beating out an infield single.

After an historic 2009 at Steiner Sports, the company had a lot to live up to in the first year of the new decade.  The previous year saw Steiner Sports move to a new facility, make available artifacts from the original Yankee Stadium, and develop a new line of exclusive product to commemorate the 27th World Series Title in Yankees history.  How would 2010 stack up in an encore performance?

New Partnerships

The New Year began with a “Giant” announcement.  In January, Steiner Sports informed collectors and sports historians of their plans to offer a new line of collectibles from the soon-to-be demolished Giants Stadium.  The 2010 NFL season would see the Jets and the Giants move into the New Meadowlands Stadium, vacating their previous home across the parking lot.  Similar to their efforts at the original Yankee Stadium, Steiner Sports offered one-of-a-kind artifacts from the old Meadowlands, including seats, seatbacks, stadium signage, sod from the field, and pieces of the goal posts from each end zone.  Both Jets and Giants fans relished the opportunity, snatching up Meadowlands memorabilia at a record pace.

Meadowlands Seats

2010 also saw the World’s Most Famous Collectible Company partner up with the World’s Most Famous Arena: Madison Square Garden.  With MSG set to undergo renovations over the next few years, Steiner Sports began offering unique pieces of the building for fans to add to their collections.  In addition to physical pieces of the building hitting the market, including pieces of the court and arena signage, game used items from the Knicks,Rangers Liberty also became available.  Fans were able to scoop up game used uniforms, basketballs, pucks, sticks, and clippings from the basketball nets and hockey goals.  These unbelievable items are all available on the Steiner Sports website and inside MSG during Knicks and Rangers home games.

The Dirt

In previous seasons, Steiner Sports had developed a line of product offering actual infield dirt from Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, and Wrigley Field.  In 2010, Steiner Sports got down and dirty with all 30 Major League Baseball Stadiums.  A team of Steiner Sports Product Development specialists created an entire line of memorabilia, released in April 2010, that incorporated Certified Authentic, game used field dirt from every stadium in baseball, giving fans of all teams a “field pass.”

The new line, approved and authenticated by Major League Baseball, included team logo crystals, key chains, stadium and player plaques, ceramic coasters, and 11×14 collages – all containing a capsule of field dirt.  A line of “In the Game” collages were also developed – a unique 20×24 player collage with actual stadium dirt sprinkled on the photo.

Due to favorable pricing, the MLB dirt collection was a popular choice for holiday gifts, and in corporate incentive programs around the country.

The Padded Seats

In an unprecedented move, Steiner Sports temporarily adjusted the price on a pair of padded, championship-level Yankee Stadium Seats, giving fans the opportunity to “Take a Seat in History” at an exclusive price.  The comfy blue seats had listed for $1,750 at their original release, but were discounted, for a limited time, at a price of just $999.

The response was overwhelming.  Yankees fans, and baseball historians alike, reserved their piece of history, for display within their sports rooms or office.  This rare collectible currently remains at the reduced price of $999, and will remain there through the holiday season.  All other pairs of authentic Yankee Stadium seats remain at their original retail price.

The Events

Steiner Sports Clients were treated to a wide array of athlete Meet & Greet opportunities in 2010, both within the confines of their Corporate Offices, and their retail and Last Licks locations.  Fans got up close, and personal with an impressive “who’s who” list of athletes including Eli ManningAmar’e StoudemireDavid Wells, members of the 1977/1978 Yankees,Vinny TestaverdeJoba ChamberlainDustin KellerJim LeonhardJay FeelyMagic JohnsonBrian CashmanHakeem NicksMark Teixeira, and Nick Swisher, among others.

Jets Event With Leonhard, Feely & Keller

Live Meet & Greets, and the ability for customers to interact with athletes, is a trend that is sure to continue in 2011.

More Digital Interaction

2010 saw the world become more connected through the use of popular social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter.  As they so often do, Steiner Sports led the way in the sports memorabilia industry, connecting with thousands of new fans.

Through the popular websites, Steiner Sports found a new and unique avenue to connect with customers and sports fans, publicizing upcoming events and signings, running daily contests, promoting new product, and even sparking heated and passionate sports debates.  It also gave fans a new forum to speak directly to the company, often expressing their interest in the industry or requesting information about athlete signings or products listed on SteinerSports.com.

Individual Steiner Sports Sales Representatives also joined the party, creating their own Facebook and Twitter accounts, giving their clients a new means to increase communication and interact on a more personal level. (Friend Jason on Facebook.  Follow Jason on Twitter).

Moving Forward

In the first year of the new decade, Steiner Sports proved, once again, that the future is bright for the leader in authentic, hand signed and game used collectibles.  There is no doubt that 2011 will prove to be more of the same.  In the New Year, Steiner Sports figures to further revolutionize the sports collectibles industry with new and exciting product and events, in an effort to bring fans closer to their heroes than ever thought possible.  If it’s happening on the field, it’s happening within the Steiner Sports corporate offices in New Rochelle, NY.

Just don’t blink.  It’s a fast-paced, ever-changing industry, moving quicker than number 11 in pinstripes.

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Amar’e Stoudemire To Meet & Greet Fans at Steiner Sports

By Jason Klein

Originally Written For The Official Steiner Sports Blog – 10/27/10

Madison Square Garden is the hot place to be again.  Amar’e Stoudemire is a big reason why.

With the New York Knicks 2010/2011 season staring tonight, the newly acquired Stoudemire looks to make Madison Square Garden the hottest spot in the NBA, a distinction the “World’s Most Famous Arena” once held.

New Knick, Amar’e Stoudemire

On Monday, November 1, 2010, he’ll do the same for the Steiner Sports Corporate Offices in New Rochelle, NY.  On Monday, Steiner Sports will be the place to be asStoudemire will appear, live and in person, as part of a Private Meet & Greet with local Knicks fans.  The event is being organized by Steiner Sports, the leader in authentic sports memorabilia.

Knicks fans will engage the superstar during a Question & Answer session, and have the unique opportunity to take photos with the 6’10’’ forward.  In addition, they will have the chance to go behind the Steiner Sports scenes, taking an exclusive tour of the facilities, and granted access to some of the most coveted sports collectibles in the industry.

Light food and beverages will be served throughout the evening, and fans will get to take home a piece of the actual Championship Court the Knicksplayed on during their 1973 Title Run, an artifact provided by MSG-Steiner Collectibles, a division of Steiner Sports.  In addition, Amar’e will sign one autograph per person, on their collectible of choice.

Stoudemire, a 7-year veteran and perennial All-Star, was the prized free agent the star-hungry Knicks coveted over the summer, and will be a major part of the resonance to take place on the corner of 32nd & 7th Avenue.

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Cleveland Rocked

By Jason Klein

Originally Written For The Official Steiner Sports Blog – 6/2/09

Chief Wahoo was the only one left smiling Saturday night in Cleveland.  Well, Chief Wahoo and the thousands of happy Yankees fans filing out of Progressive Field, in town to witness a 10-5 pinstriped victory.  For the locals, a day filled with so much promise ended exactly like so many others have in the past – in disappointment.

Downtown Cleveland was buzzing on Saturday afternoon – not only because millions of those pesky midges decided to show up with the Yankees in town again.  The city was hungry.  The appetizer: CC Sabathia’sreturn.  The main course: Lebron James and the Cavs facing the Magic in a pivotal Eastern Conference Game 6.

It didn’t take long for things to go sour off the shore of Lake Erie.  Half filled with Yankees fans, Progressive Field sounded more like the Bronx as Sabathia took a no-hitter into the 5th inning against the hometown Indians.  Simultaneously, the Cavs got off to a slow start, trailing by 18 at the half in Orlando.

Sabathia finished strong, tossing 7 innings, allowing only 3 runs on 5 hits en route to a 10-5 Yankees victory.  Fans piled out of the building, long before the final out, and walked across the street to an empty Quicken Loans Arena to watch the second half of Cavs-Magic on the big screen.  It wasn’t much of a show.

Though everyone in the place was down with King James and all his men, it was all his men who ultimately brought King James down.  Aside from Delonte West’s 22 points and the 25 put up by James, the rest of the team never really got started, dropping the game 103-90, and surrendering their place in the NBA Finals.

Dejected Cleveland fans added another day of frustration to their already trying resume.  The city that hasn’t raised a championship banner since the Browns won the NFL Championship in 1964, saw a golden opportunity slip through their fingers with this latest Cavalier loss.

So, NBA Commissioner, David Stern, those ABC execs, and those cool puppets, will have to cope without their much anticipated Kobe-Lebron Finals.  And the city of Cleveland will have to move on once again, without a title.  To add insult to injury, after the game, James, the prodigal son of Cleveland, spoke to the media and reflected on the lost season while wearing his controversial Yankees cap.

Though the MVP candidate wouldn’t commit to staying in Cleveland following the 2009-2010 season, many suspect the free agent-to-be will leave town – another potential blow to this passionate sports city.

When Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn helped defeat the Yankees to capture the pennant for the Indians in 1989’s “Major League,” it was a fictional account of what it would be like to actually win in Cleveland.  Saturday in Cleveland, the real Indians were rocked by the Yankees, and fans watched the Cavs’ dream season end.  Sometimes, a dose of reality hurts.  In Cleveland, the only thing you can do is try and keep on smiling.

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