Originally Posted by MUsoxfan
Maybe they get frustrated with grown adults who fuss and moan about having them scribble things the "proper way". I'd be frustrated too.
Well, it's an autograph session at a team event. The retired players don't have to do it. They agreed to be there. From my perspective, asking a player politely to use a certain pen and sign it in a certain place takes all of two seconds. I don't think it's too much to ask after spending decent money and waiting a couple hours. Plus making a simple request often helps a player, who has a bunch of different pens and markers in front him and often hesitates when deciding which one to use and where to sign an item on his own.
Personally, I find it warped that multi-millionaires play games with fans in such a setting. There's no reason why a player should be frustrated by an autograph request at a fan fest.
As far as autograph values go, I agree with Brian26 that it's not worth attending a fan fest to make money. In fact, I think the issue is not whether the player is increasing the value of the item, but whether the player is decreasing the value or even wrecking an item. I guess a good example is Thome giving his jag signature on a $500 bat. How would you feel if you paid $500 for the bat and now, should you need the money, you'd be lucky to get $250 for the bat because of the bad signature? In effect, Thome just screwed the guy out of $250. Way to go, multi-millionaire! You really showed one of your fans!!!
As far as sweet-spotting baseballs, it's simply the standard because a signature looks best there. If you have other balls in your collection, it would be nice if they all looked similar when displayed. It's just a collecting thing. The same kind of reasoning why collectors want Star Wars figures in their original packaging or old currency in uncirculated condition.
Collecting autographs can be a weird thing, but I wouldn't criticize it here because so can spending time and money watching men play a game over 100 times in a year and then spending more time reading and writing about it on a message board.