Last week in Anaheim, Calif., "corporate trade show night" during the 12th National Sports Collectors Convention was supposed to present a first-time opportunity for hobby dealers to schmooze with around 140 manufacturers of trading cards and related memorabilia.
But nearly 10,000 collectors attended an event that wasn't supposed to be open to the general public. At least 2,000 people were turned away. And off. The Anaheim Convention Center was cleared after nearly two hours so another "wave" of collectors waiting in line for hours could get in.
Added police were called in when a number of fistfights among those jockeying for better positions in line made the situation outside tense.
Why the fuss? Because companies paid between $2,500- $75,000 for the right to give away special products, many available only at the National, some just last week.
Many industrious collectors found ways to get in on corporate trade night. In the past few weeks, there was a run on business cards at Anaheim-area card shops. Why? Because one of the ways to purchase a special badge to the show was by producing a card of a sports-memorabilia related business.
Swings and misses for James
Mike Antonucci of the San Jose Mercury News recently looked back at some predictions from "The Baseball Book 1991," by Bill James. Some highlights:
* Harold Baines. "In view of his age  and extreme lack of speed [he hasn't stolen a base in four years], he is probably of less real than perceived value." Well, through Friday, Baines trailed only Dave Henderson and Jose Canseco in at-bats for the A's and was hitting a club-leading .323 with 11 homers and 54 RBI. No stolen bases, but he has one triple, Bill.
* Scott Erickson. After a series of mostly negative comments, James softened up and projected Erickson as a guy who might go 15-12 with a 3.44 ERA. "But do I project him as a top pitcher, the answer is no." Er, Bill, he's 12-3 with a 1.83 ERA for Minnesota so far.
* Kevin Gross. "This could be a great free-agent signing. . . . If he's healthy, he'll win 15 games for the Dodgers." Through Tuesday, he's 4-5 with a 4.60 ERA.
Bob Kravitz of the Rocky Mountain News, after the Denver Nuggets traded center Blair Rasmussen: "By the time the Nuggets dump Orlando Woolridge, their average age will be less than last year's UNLV squad."