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Fantasy Sports: A Dream Come True or a Social Nightmare?

In case you have never heard of Fantasy Sports before (and there are people who fall into that category) let's start off with a definition of the game. In Fantasy Sports, the players select athletes from professional sports teams to make up their "dream team." Then, as a sports season progresses, those athletes earn points for the players who chose them based on their performance. Whether the name Fantasy Sports comes from the make-believe teams or the ability to pick and choose your favorite players without signing million-dollar contracts, millions of people participate in fantasy sports betting across the country every year. The "hobby" has become so popular that it has spilled over into other areas of entertainment aside from sports.

The rewards for playing Fantasy Sports can be anything from socializing opportunities, bragging rights and increased enthusiasm to monetary gains. In fact, Fantasy Sports is estimated to have a $3 to $4 Billion annual economic impact across the sports industry.

Although Fantasy Sports betting can be a fun way for families, students, co-workers and strangers to interact, some people are worried about its addictive nature. Under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, Fantasy Sports betting is not considered gambling since it depends on the player's knowledge of athletes and sports rather than chance, but it there are considerable drawbacks to the game if it promotes gambling.

In addition to individual personal costs, gambling can wreak a lot of damage on society. According to Sylvia Porter in the "Economic Costs of Compulsive Gambling in the U.S." the average compulsive gambler has debts in excess of $80,000. That debt then contributes to social problems like bankruptcy, embezzlement, family neglect, divorce, theft and other forms of organized crime. Another resource drained by compulsive gambling is time. In spite of all the negative effects created by gambling, most states have legalized the activity. This change in policy is a recent development though so it will be interesting to see what the consequences are.

Fantasy Sports is not an inherently bad past time but, as with many other activities, the consequences of participating depend largely on the individuals involved. If you want to enjoy the game and have fun without loosing too much of your time or money, play smart by setting limits for yourself. With a little self discipline, you can definitely avoid becoming addicted. That said, let the games begin.


5 Tips on Buying Authentic Autographed Sports Memorabilia Online

It is amazing how many people are fascinated by professional athletes. Sports fans love all kinds of activities. Some enjoy basketball, baseball and football, while others cannot wait to watch ice hockey, boxing or professional golf. They keep track of scores, memorize historical events, and will go out of their way to see a live game. These enthusiasts would also be thrilled to receive authentic autographed sports memorabilia for their birthday.

There are a few things to consider when buying a loved one or close friend an authentic, autographed Gail Goodrich NBA Spalding basketball online. By being careful, you can probably save a few dollars, and prevent purchasing a fake.

1. Always verify the seller. Find out how long the company has been in business, what kind of reviews other consumers wrote, if the company is connected to other selling sites, such as E-Bay, etc. The more you know, the easier it will be to accept them as honest memorabilia dealers.
2. Use different online sources to track down a specific item. Maybe your brother mentioned that he would not mind owning a Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus autographed, numbered and framed "Golf's Greatest" canvas. Having these details makes it a lot easier to track down a copy. Do not buy right away, but investigate first. Compare how much each merchant charges for the picture, as well as the freight. While some shops will reduce the price of their collectables, they charge an arm and a leg for shipping.
3. If you want to purchase an authentic autographed sports memorabilia for someone you do not know quite well, like a business associate or a soon-to-be-father-in-law, do a little research first. Contact people that know these individuals better than you. Explain why you need the information. What would be more appropriate; a signed Magic Johnson jersey or an official MLB ball signed by the Dodger's renowned manager Tommy Lasorda?
4. Be careful when shopping for keen collectors. Either thoroughly investigate so you know with certainty what they already own, or ask them for a wish list. You should mention your spending limit, as some memorabilia may be out of your financial league.
5. Always check the vendor's store policies before finalizing your online order. Can the item be exchanged or returned? How long will it take to arrive? Will it be accompanied by a certificate of authenticity? How will the item be packaged? Verify that payments are secure, and your personal information will not be forwarded to third parties. One cannot be careful enough!


Team Jersey

The team jersey is one of the best sports team apparel options that you can wear in order to show that you are a true fan of the team. The team jersey boldly proclaims to the world that you are a follower and supporter of a specific team, and even to a specific player. Despite the many arguments the jersey could land you in with fans of an opposing team, you will find that wearing your own sports team apparel is the best way to prove that you are dedicated to one team and one team only.

When it comes to buying sports team apparel, it is always best to buy the authentic gear. It may be hard to tell which gear is authentic and which is knockoff sports team apparel, so here are a few things to look for when shopping for your authentic team jersey:

* The main difference between authentic sports team apparel and the imitation gear is that the cost of the authentic gear will be much higher than the knockoffs. The authentic team jersey may be twice as expensive as the imitation one, but the cost of the jersey is well worth it in order to have an authentic team jersey. The materials used for the real jerseys will last much longer than the materials for the knockoff jerseys, which is why the cost of the authentic jersey is so much higher when it is made with the higher quality material.

* Another thing to look for when shopping for your team jersey is the official mark of the organization. Usually when you purchase your sports team apparel from the organization itself, there will be a mark of authenticity that the imitation jerseys will not have. All of the details of the jersey will be clearly marked, and you will be able to read the ad copy to find out whether your jersey is an authentic one, a replica, or an authentic jersey with an authentic autograph.

* You should always buy the jerseys with the brand name of the manufacturer that produces it. Reebok is the official manufacturer of jerseys for both the NHL and NFL, while Adidas makes all of the NBA jerseys. Majestic Athletic is the manufacturer responsible for all of the MLB jerseys. Always check to make sure that your jersey is made by these manufacturers, as that is an indication that the jersey is authentic.

Remember that buying from your sports team apparel store is the best way to be certain that you are getting a team jersey that truly is authentic. Clothing forgers have gotten so good that they are able to imitate all of the tags and logos that show that the jersey is authentic. It has gotten to the point that many experts cannot tell a replica apart from the authentic jerseys, and buying a jersey on the street or online can often be risky. If you want to be sure that you get the real deal, always buy either from the online store of your favorite team or from the physical sports team apparel store at the stadium.


Collectible Batting Helmets For The True Fan

Sometimes, finding just the right gift for a baseball fan can be difficult, which is what makes collectible batting helmets such a wonderful find. If you have never seen one of these beauties before, you should know that they are the perfect way for just about any kind of fan to display their love for their favorite team. When it comes to gift giving, you really have it easy when you have the opportunity to purchase one of these babies!

Basically, when you make the decision to buy one of the wonderful collectible batting helmets on the market today, you are getting a great little item that will show the collector or fanatic in your life just how much you are thinking of them. For many avid fans, this is one of the ultimate when it comes to Major League Baseball gifts. Perfectly sized and always handsome while on display, these great batting helmets are available with the colors and logos from just about any team that you can think of.

Collectible batting helmets make perfect gifts for several different reasons. Perhaps you have a person on your shopping list that really seems to already have everything. If so, you are not alone! When it comes to baseball fans, it is likely that they already have plenty of collectibles reflecting their love for the favorite team in their life. This is why something such as a handsome batting helmet can become such a thoughtful gift.

Did you know that collectible batting helmets are not only just the right size to display on a shelf, mantle or display case, but they are also better for displaying autographs than smaller counterparts such as baseballs? Once you add to that the fact that they are complete with the identifiable team logos, it should be easy to see just why they make such incredible gifts for just about any fan. It also helps that they are extremely well priced!

Don't know what to get your boss? How about a batting helmet and game tickets. The batting helmet can sit on his/her shelving unit at the office. They will constantly be reminded of the generosity of the gift and the good time they had at the game. The batting helmets come in several styles no flap, right flap, and left flap. In addition, there are mini helmets that can be kept in display cases and special helmets that are manufactured for the World Series victors.

The next time you are on the hunt for the perfect gift to give the baseball fanatic in your life, it may be in your best interest to look for collectible batting helmets that sport the team logo of the gift recipient on your list. When you give such a gift, you are sure to get plenty of thanks in response. After you give it, you will also see that this is the kind of gift that goes on display immediately. No longer will you sit back wondering what happened to the gift that you spent your hard earned money on. With collectible batting helmets as a gift, you can rest assured in knowing that you chose something thoughtful and very handsome, just perfect for displaying!


Curious About The Weekly Salary Of The Boston Red Sox?

You love the Boston Red Sox, go to all the games you can and catch the others on television whenever you can. In your quest for knowledge about the Boston Red Sox, did you ever wonder about the weekly salary of the Boston Red Sox?

When the Boston Red Sox got their start in 1912, they played Fenway Park and continue to do so to the present day. There is no data available for the players' 1912 weekly salaries but in 1913 they averaged $67.00 a week with the exception of the player, Tris Speaker that averaged $302.00 per week according to the MLB Baseball Almanac.

Fast forward to the great stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression of the 1930's and into World War II the mid-1940's average weekly salaries of the Boston Red Sox propelled towards $960.00 per week for players like Ted Williams and the other team members averaged around $300.00 to $400.00 per week.

The 1950's really heralded in the golden age of baseball with most notably Ted Williams salary boosting to $2403.00 per week in the 1950 season and by the end of the 1950's the Boston Red Sox Weekly Salaries were still among one of the best paid teams in the league with their star players making around $2500 per week and other players making around the $500.00 per week range.

In the 1960's the salaries started to go up for the most well-known and promoted players while the "regular" weekly salary of the average Boston Red Sox player remained woefully lower in comparison to their star players.

In the present, it's not uncommon for professional athletes to command salaries in the millions upon signing with a team. The Boston Red Sox weekly salaries of today far surpass the humble beginnings of the original players around the turn of last century. Some of the highlights for the 2007 Boston Red Sox (that's the most current salary information available) is Manny Ramirez comes in as the highest paid player with a weekly salary topping around $327,000. The entertainingly named Coco Crisp is around $73,000 per week. As of the 2007 report, the lowest paid Boston Red Sox team member was Dustin Pedroia at $7300.00 per week. The
total 2007 team salary was $143,523,714.00.

The 2008 opening day totals are below.

Total Payroll:      $133,440,037 (4th)
Average Salary:     $4,765,716

Manny Ramirez      $18,929,923
J.D. Drew      14,000,000
David Ortiz      13,000,000
Mike Lowell      12,500,000
Jason Varitek      10,442,031
Josh Beckett      10,166,667
Julio Lugo      9,250,000
Daisuke Matsuzaka      8,333,333
Curt Schilling      8,000,000
Coco Crisp      5,083,333
Tim Wakefield      4,000,000
Julian Tavarez      3,850,000
Mike Timlin      3,000,000
Kevin Youkilis      3,000,000
Alex Cora      2,000,000
Hideki Okajima      1,275,000
Javier Lopez      840,000
Kyle Snyder      835,000
Sean Casey      800,000
Jonathan Papelbon      775,000
Dustin Pedroia      457,000
Kevin Cash      450,000
Jon Lester      421,500
Manny Delcarmen      421,000
Jacoby Ellsbury      406,000
Bryan Corey      405,000
David Aardsma      403,250
Clay Buchholz      396,000

And that's a brief overview of how the salaries for Boston's favorite team has grown from its early start and continues to fill stadiums to this day.


How To Get Started With Autograph Collecting So You Don't Lose Your Shirt

As with any new endeavor it is best to start out small when you first begin in the autograph market. It is much better to start small and then increase your exposure as you learn so that your risk of loss is as low as possible. Even if you aren't intending to resell the autographs you are purchasing right now you still don't want to pay too much for them.

Some of the questions that you want to ask an autograph or collectibles dealer include things like how long the dealer has operated their business, the source of the particular autograph you are interested in, and possibly even references from prior clients. Still, you could end up with someone who you may not care to do business with if they are not totally honest and upright with their answers. A reputable dealer will be as proud of their reputation and the quality of their merchandise as they are of their overall collection.

Even though time can sometimes work against you in collecting memorabilia of any kind it is better to take the time to do your due diligence than to make a hasty, foolish, and possibly costly mistake. Do your research and talk to other people and also bear in mind that if they are offering some rare item at a low price it is probably fake.

Once you have paid your dues in terms of time and experience you will be better able to spot obvious scams and fakes but in the beginning you need to protect yourself from those kinds of things because no one else will. You can get some great deals with online auction but they can also be fraught with fraud and lack of authenticity.

One of the biggest risks from buying online as far as autographs is that they could be forgeries. There are great deals on things like comic books, trading cards, and other collectibles. One of the other risks is that the person could be using a fake identity and just disappears once they get your money. This is another reason it is crucial not to get caught up in the rush and hype of auctions. You need to do your research and know who you are dealing with.

Another reason for being cautious when buying autographs and other such items is that it could be a long time before you even know you have been ripped off, it could literally be years! You don't need an army of people to buy from, you only need a few people that you can trust to do business with. Join a trade organization that specializes in celebrity memorabilia and autographs so that you can keep your finger on the pulse of the market.


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