The guy behind the Yankees collectibles explosion

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He’s Brandon Steiner, the founder of Steiner Sports. If you’re a Yankees fan — and even if you’re not, probably — you have no doubt seen ads for Steiner Sports’ wares, which are comprised of an amazing number of collectibles which, to be honest, are only collectible because Steiner Sports convinced enough people they were.

Stuff like this:

Brandon Steiner’s mind was churning as he watched the groundskeepers carrying their rakes off the Yankee Stadium infield.

“I can sell those,” he said. “I can put a plaque on them and have Derek sign them.”

What Yankees fan, he asked, wouldn’t want to gather fallen leaves or clear a garden with the rakes that once smoothed the dirt on whichDerek Jeter roamed?

Which, hey, more power to him. He’s making a mint doing this. Steiner Sports has an annual revenue of $50 million. Richard Sandomir of the New York Times has his story, which is very, very much tied up in Steiner’s connection to the Yankees and his cultivation of that connection over the years. It includes details like the Yankees changing the bases on the field several times a game now, simply because Steiner can sell them to people and the team can get a cut.

I get personal moments and connections to the game people have. A photo with a ballplayer. An autograph, maybe. But the creation of memorabilia markets like this is something I just don’t get. It makes me feel like some folks — like the folks who would buy a groundskeeper’s rake — have a bit too much money on their hands.