Q and A with Gary Cypres Part VI: What’s a Puig jersey worth now, and later?

The Gary Cypres Q&A continues:

Q: If someone doesn’t have the financial means to start collecting things the way you have done it, do you have a suggestion on how they can get into it without bankrupting themselves?
I think you start with the idea that it’s the collecting that’s fun. If you have limited resources, even within the baseball world, there are all kinds of things to collect that doesn’t have to be high-end stuff. Think of all the bobbleheads, or other giveaways over the last 20 years for just the Dodgers. A funny story: A senior judge in the state of California came by here one day, very distinguished man, impeccable credentials, Ivy League educated – he collects football programs. You’d never know what people collect. Football programs don’t involve major dollars, but here’s someone, an intellectual, sure as can be, just this quiet collector. I’ve had some other very distinguished doctors visit, he’s a card collector. It doesn’t matter what profession. Collectors are collectors, in their blood from when they were little.

Q: So as collector, would you buy up a bunch of Yaseil Puig memorabilia right now and just put it away for safe keeping?
A: I would buy some of it, but I wouldn’t spend a lot of money on it. First of all, it’s much different today. Now, they could put on 1,800 uniforms because they’re smart. Way back when, the players only got two a season. When you’re buying something today, realize it doesn’t have the same value. There could be 10 rookie uniforms for someone like him. It’s not a money issue in making new uniforms. Continue reading

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Q and A with Gary Cypres Part V: With something’s a fake, what’s the recourse?

The Gary Cypres Q&A continues:

Halper_display_imageQ: You also see some players donate items to the Hall of Fame. But from we understand, sometimes those things get circulated in the memorabilia market, and the family can’t figure out why that happens. Is there a problem today with things on the open market that don’t belong, a need for better authentication?
Oh, yes. In 1999, Barry Halper, one of the most well-known collectors in the industry, became ill with cancer and died a few years later. His entire collection (above) went up for auction, but prior to doing that, he sold many of his own items to the Hall of Fame. They created a room for all of that at one point. Unfortunately, it was discovered that a lot of it was bogus. Now, this is the Hall of Fame. You’d think they’d have the ability to siphon through that. For reasons I don’t quite fathom, the Hall of Fame never made any issues about it, maybe because they were embarrassed to admit they paid millions for items that weren’t real. So, many of items that came out in the market were also bogus. Clearly, in the memorabilia field, especially 15 or 20 years ago, there weren’t the procedures, and not the sophisticated methods to verify things, including with things I owned. Remember, for the most part, we weren’t there to see the players wear these uniforms or used these gloves. I have some that are store models and no one can tell if they were used by a player in a game. You’re always looking for the providence of something but sometimes can never really tell. There’s issues, too, with autographs, too. But then a lot of authenticators have come up, and there are questions if they can do the job honestly. There are some federal cases ongoing against Mastro Auction for fraud charges, and they sold more than $40 million a year at one time. The owner has pleaded guilty and two associates have been indicted. That raises issues as to what’s good. And quite honestly, I’m sure in my own collection, I’ve got some real bogus junk in here. It happens at museums, with forgeries occurring even in the best of circumstances. Every collection, no matter how diligent you are, has some degree of fraud. One day the feds contacted me and told me a couple of items I had were fraudulent. I told them, ‘Thank you very much,’ and they actually sent some people to jail for that. Continue reading

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Q and A with Gary Cypres Part IV: ‘Given my druthers, I’d rather be playing down here’ in the museum than working upstairs

The Gary Cypres Q&A continues:

i-344b3e084acdssss2175628-sportsmuseum3Q: You’ve spend your time on your collection, but you also have a business, and a family, and a life. How do you divide time to what you want to focus on?
Given my druthers, I’d rather be playing down here (laughing).
Q: It is a huge playground.
This is a wonderful man cave – probably the biggest man cave around. Given my age, it’s hard to realize that I should have retired at 55. This is a time when my kids are grown, my wife collects contemporary art – and I do to – and she has no interest in sports or in any of my collection. That’s good. It leaves me to myself. My two boys, 22 and 24, I took them to all the sports shows since they were 5 and 6 and they know all the dealers. We’ll be in Chicago the end of the month for the national sports show. There’s a social part to this. The reality is, as a collector, there’s some who want to open it up and share it ,and there are some who personally want to get their satisfaction just from owning it. I’m in that first category. I love to have it, perfectly happy to come in every morning, walk around here, say hello to all my old friends, I remember 25 years when I bought this piece, and that piece, and dwell on the fact it can’t be 25 years because that’s impossible, so that’s the thing.
From a collecting point of view, the fun is always in the chase. Anyone who’s serious will tell you – it’s what’s coming tomorrow. That’s one of the problems if you stop collecting. It’s that joy that really isn’t money driven. It’s the objects. Seeing new stuff. That’s why I like to buy and sell to reinvest, to keep active. Continue reading

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Q and A with Gary Cypres Part III: Why collecting must include selling off as well

The Gary Cypres Q&A continues:

LotQ: How does collecting involve the process of selling things as well?
Of course, that’s the other part of it. Everything is for sale, technically. That’s how things come to auction. The reality is, at some point, it’s for sale. Now, the question, I’ve sold my basketball collection for the most part, significant other items that don’t play into the Dodger-Yankee rivalry, so I definitely sell. If someone offers me the right price, it’s only a matter of : What can I re-invest it in? Sometimes, you get a crazy price offered, you take it, and something else comes up. It’s not like you’re liquidating. Sometimes you sell to buy, and sometimes you buy to sell. Every collection ultimately faces the day when they sell. I don’t wait for that day. I’ve sold a lot of things. Continue reading

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Q and A with Gary Cypres Part II: A collector and curator in one



Following up on the first part of the interview, we continue with Gary Cypres:

Q: Where there any other museums you could even model it after?
A: No, there weren’t any. I’ve been to Cooperstown, and that’s different, quite dark (in its lighting) honestly. I understand why, being in the art field, knowing about curation and preservation, but to me, when this museum isn’t open every day, we can control the lighting. I knew of the Helms Bakery Sports Museum here before my time, but it never knew what that was, just remnants of that collection. It wasn’t devoted to the teams here, either, just a collection of sports stuff. So without a model, I thought I’d do this myself. I wanted others to help me but I found out most of them knew nothing about sports. So that was a problem. I ended up doing it myself, right, wrong or indifferent. I’m the curator, we make our own stuff, for better or worse, an amateur playing museum curator.

Q: And you’re able to take parts of it around town, to Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.
Yes, we’ve had wonderful relationships with them over the years, even before the current (Dodgers) management spent a significant amount of time and money trying to recapture the historical moments. I think we found out from people visiting here, and the major collection in the Dodger Stadium suite area, there was a sense of enjoyment seeing the old stuff from the fans who could visit it. Over the years, we’ve done Dodger Fan Fests, too. You can’t bring a lot down, but that was 30,000 who attended who could see some of it. Continue reading

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Q and A: Gary Cypres, and the art of amassing the greatest man cave ever



By his own devices, Gary Cypres consciously surrounds himself with baseball history.

Yet, the uber-collector admitted he didn’t realize until maybe 10 or 15 years ago that the front doors of his current Sports Museum of Los Angeles are just a popup away from one of the city’s original hardball landmarks.



Cypres maintains his 32,000-square foot, two-story giant rectangle warehouse on the corner of Washington and Main, just southeast of the Santa Monica and Harbor Freeway convergence. As it turns out, right across the street from a parking lot and furniture design center is the former site of  Washington Park. Between 1911 and 1925, that served the home field of both the Pacific Coast League’s Los Angeles Angels and Vernon Tigers. Prior to that, it was Chutes Park, created in 1887 as an amusement park that also had a baseball diamond used by the Angels.

“I hadn’t known anything about it until someone told me,” said Cypres. “What an interesting discovery to be on hallowed baseball grounds, something that was part of the baseball fabric of L.A.”

Coincidentally, another Washington Park, in Brooklyn, is where the Dodgers’ franchise played (as the Superbas) at nearly the same time (1898 to 1911).

Maybe it’s just part of Cypres’ karma.

“We’ll leave that up to whoever believes in that,” he replied with a smile.

sportsmuseumla_logoIt’s more than just popular believe that Cypres, who made his fortunes in the finance and travel business, continues to maintain the largest and most provocative private collection of sports memorabilia around.

Once opened to the public in 2008, only to close a year later for business reasons, the Sports Museum of L.A. remains an important landmark of its own.

Cypres allows charities to use it as a fund-raising gathering as well as stage events such as the one coming Wednesday, when Dodgers president Stan Kasten will appear for a town hall meeting attended by Los Angeles News Group readers.

Cypres, who has amassed his multimillion dollar collection through auctions and private contacts, collected his thoughts for us on various aspects of the sports memorabilia business as it stands today and continues to evolve: Continue reading

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It’s Out of the Question: Dwight (knock, knock knock), Dwight (knock, knock, knock), Dwight (knock, knock, knock)

It didn’t come down to a rocket scientist, but a Rockets fan who plays a one on TV?

Dwight Howard will have to explain himself as to why he spaced out and decided the spotlight of L.A. was not to his liking. Who really knows what he wants out of life at this point anyway?

While the Lakers have tried to work all possible algorithms on how to make #D12STAY, a video posted by the “Big Bang Theory” star Jim Parsons apparently recorded in his hall closet might make as much sense as anything on how things finally leveled out and crash landed.

“I don’t know if you watch my show … but I watch you,” Parsons says in a far less assertive voice than his character, Sheldon. “I personally believe the center is the most important part of a basketball team. And I think that’s what usually leads to winning championships. … What the Rockets are missing now is a really elite center, like yourself. I promise you that no other organization and no other fan base understands and respects the role that an all-time great center like yourself plays in the success of the team.

“I believe if you played for the Rockets, you could play some of the best and most exciting basketball in your entire career and I think bring home a few rings.

“As a fan of you, as a fan of the Rockets, that’s exactly what I hope happens.”

If only the Lakers knew someone from Hollywood who could have helped their cause …

== The Lakers could still be interested in that Andrew Bynum prospect now, eh?

== When does Team L.A. Store start having its $12 deals on Lakers 12 jerseys?

Continue reading

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Weekly media sports column version 07.05.13 — The fireworks hangover continues

What made it into this week’s sports media column:
Another look at how the Lakers’ use of its Time Warner Cable contract came into play during the Dwight Howard contract renegotiation talks, and whether that really gave the team an advantage over other suitors (from Thursday’s blog post).

What didn’t make it in but could have:

== ESPN plans to air a 21-minute piece during Sunday’s 7 a.m. “SportsCenter” — a Tom Rinaldi followup to a feature he did four years ago about a two Cleveland high school wrestlers who became friends as they went through the challenges of one being blind and the other having no legs. The piece on Dartanyon Crockett and Leroy Sutton also airs on Sunday’s “Outside the Lines” (ESPN2, 6 a.m.). After the original feature aired on August 2, 2009, producer Lisa Fenn, who left ESPN in 2010, received more than 700 emails from people who wanted to help Crockett and Sutton go to college. Crockett went on to become a member of the USA Judo team and earned a medal in the 2012 Paralympics in London. He lives and studies in Colorado Springs, Col. Sutton, a college student in Phoenix, was in London to cheer him on.

== Monday’s latest Golf Channel episode of “Feherty” has host David Feherty visiting Raymond Floyd on his 260-acre Vermont farm, where, according to the network’s press release, Feherty “discovers the therapeutic value of mowing grass.”

== The blogpost earlier about ESPN’s Dan Shulman, doing the Angels-Red Sox game from Anaheim on Sunday

== And how, again, did ESPN’s Darren Rovell end up getting dragged into a story about an In-N-Out burger hoax (apprently so huge it was the centerpiece cover story in today’s L.A.Daily News … sorry, Egypt)?

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The elephant in the room isn’t D12′s ego, it’s TWC’s perceived reach to help the Lakers bag their big man

Dwight Howard speaks on radio during Media Day at the Lakers opening of practice on Oct. 1, 2012 in El Segundo   (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Dwight Howard speaks on radio during Media Day at the Lakers opening of practice on Oct. 1, 2012 in El Segundo (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Dwight Howard needs his own TV show like Kobe Bryant needs more incentive to tweet.

But when the Lakers power suits went to Beverly Hills to make their final sales pitch Tuesday, laying it out for the 27-year-old All-Star center as to why he should re-up his contract with the team rather than take his talents elsewhere, there was a curious non-passive bystander in the room.

Time Warner Cable was part of the wooing efforts, with much of the wild speculation focused on far it could do with its 24/7 TWC SportsNet and Deportes outlets in giving Howard the true Hollywood experience.

dwight600How is this anything new? For decades, athletes who come to L.A. to enhance their professional careers (not to mention the extracurricular college experience) don’t really need reminders about the perks of having access to national TV talk shows, movie cameos and some of the world’s top recording studios to cut their own musical styling.

But re-introducing the TWC element into this particular scenario  appeared to be an even more of a blatant attempt by the Lakers to show off the clout provided by one of their financially imbedded media business partners.

Advantage L.A.? Why not.

“One of the differentiating opportunities afforded athletes playing in Southern California is not only the ability to access the Hollywood culture, but also the ability to actively participate in it,” said David Carter, the Executive Director of the Sports Business Institute and professor of sports business at USC’s Marshall School of Business. Continue reading

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Dan Shulman once heard the rumors of Dodger interest … could it ever circle back?

Dan Shulman, second from right, with Buster Olney, Orel Hershiser and John Kruk as this year's ESPN Sunday Night Baseball team (Photo by Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images)

Dan Shulman, second from right, with Buster Olney, Orel Hershiser and John Kruk as this year’s ESPN Sunday Night Baseball team
(Photo by Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images)

You flip on tonight’s Dodgers-Rockies game from Colorado on KCAL Channel 9 and the immediate reaction is — oh, right, Vin Scully has this part of the trip off.

Those who’ll be making decision about the future of the Dodgers’ TV package once it evolves into the team-owned SportsNet L.A. in 2014 can’t be sold on a future that involves Eric Collins and Steve Lyons as the broadcast team that ends up doing more than half of the roadies where the 85-year-old Scully has negotiated out of his travel plans.

Scully will likely make his intentions known in the next few weeks as to whether he feels up to reporting for duty in 2014, either with the same package of some 110 games or cut it down even further to where he doesn’t have to step on a plane again.

When Scully decides he’s ready to call it a career — and that’s clearly his prerogative — it would behoove the Dodgers ownership to have a backup plan ready. We’ve discussed this on and on for years now.

It could figure out how to use Charley Steiner in the short term, or keep Collins in even the shorter term. As for a longer-term replacement, the choices spray to all fields.

Dan Shulman, who last fall re-upped his contract with ESPN to continue doing the “Sunday Night Baseball” package as well as handle college basketball with Dick Vitale as his frequent partner, had been mentioned on short lists as a possible successor.

He admitted he heard the same thing as well, all the way to his home in Toronto. Continue reading

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