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09-23-2005, 09:10 AM
Link to Story (http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/stlouiscitycounty/story/376BB9D818D7CB6C8625708500158AA9?OpenDocument&highlight=2%2C%22urinal%22)

Even Busch's urinals can be yours, for a price

By Michael D. Sorkin

Smart investors know they should keep their hands firmly on their wallets whenever they hear pitches like, "You have a once in a lifetime opportunity to purchase ..."

But what if the opportunity is a chance to buy a piece of a beloved sports stadium before it falls to the wrecking ball?

Fans have been drooling for weeks, and there may be no limit to what they're willing to buy. That includes the dirt and urinals from Busch Stadium.

With at least two weeks - and perhaps as many as five - to go before the last game is played at Busch, the Cardinals already have sold all 13,000 pairs of game-used stadium seats put up for sale. Each pair cost $470.

The seats won't be available until sometime after Thanksgiving, but some new owners already are trying to turn a profit by reselling them on eBay.

Is the salvage from Busch Stadium a good investment?

In the past, demolition companies took away the remains as part of their payment. These days, ballclub owners know better.

The Cardinals hired an accounting company to provide an "authenticator" for each game.

"A buyer of one of these objects from the stadium will have the Cardinals and Major League Baseball standing behind it," says Michael Barnes of the Barnes Sports Group in Festus. He's a consultant to the ballclub. "We're very cognizant of the fact that buyers want to know that it's real."

There's another reason: This sale is big business. Cardinals President Mark Lamping expects to net "in excess of $5 million" from selling pieces of the stadium.

The money, he says, will help defray the team's share of the cost of the new stadium, now budgeted at $345 million.

So is this stuff a good investment?

"I don't know," Lamping says. "I'm not a collector."

He says some will buy on speculation, while others will purchase items because they are unique.

The Cards still have empty champagne bottles left from last year's championship series. The club is pricing the empties at $500 apiece.

If you missed out on the stadium chairs, you still can get game-used seat backs autographed by Hall of Famers Stan Musial, Red Schoendienst, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock and Ozzie Smith, if you hurry.

The Cardinals will sell at least 3,222 of the hard, red plastic backs of the seat, or whatever the total number of Cardinals games played at Busch turns out to be. The price is $599, and 1,000 already have been sold.

A non-autographed seat back removed during renovations in the 1990s was being offered on eBay this week. It had a high bid of $39.99.

Barnes is a lawyer who specializes in the auction of big-ticket sports items. He says bases from the Cards' last game at Busch will have the potential to increase in value. Another good investment, he predicts, is Albert Pujols' locker. ("He'll make it into the Hall of Fame one day," Barnes says.)

If Busch Stadium had artificial turf, Barnes estimates he could sell thousands of 2-inch-by-2-inch sections at $20 to $30 apiece.

Instead, the club plans to sell small containers of the stadium's dirt for under $10. Barnes says he expects to sell 5,000 or so.

As for those urinals, Barnes says they'll be very popular. He expects to get several hundred dollars or more each at an auction planned for Thanksgiving weekend.

Why would anyone buy a used urinal from an old stadium?

"If there's a demand," Barnes says, "we will meet it."

09-23-2005, 09:11 AM
THAT is what he was saving money for....

09-23-2005, 09:12 AM
He'll paint a little Cubs logo where the soapcake would sit.

09-23-2005, 09:13 AM
He'll paint a little Cubs logo where the soapcake would sit.Someone will be marketing Cubs Logo Urinal Cakes soon enough.

Shane W
09-23-2005, 09:15 AM
He'll paint a little Cubs logo where the soapcake would sit.

You got that right.