Thursday, January 31, 2013

Uncompensated Endorsement

L-R: The 2007, 2010 and 2005 editions
of the Baseball Travel Map

Hedberg Map's Baseball Travel Map is an indispensable tool for planning baseball road trips, or finding baseball when traveling for other reasons.  Sure, Minor League Baseball has a Google Map on its website, but it's not remotely the same.

Speaking practically, the Google Map is too small to allow a viewer to scan the breadth of the country, from the San Francisco Giants to the Portland (Maine) Sea Dogs.  (Not to mention, who wants to balance a laptop on their knees while they're on the crapper.)

Less practically, the online map lacks magic.  When I unfold the five panels of the Baseball Travel Map, I see the trips Melvin and I have taken in the past, and I project us into the future, imagining the trips we might take.

So, I was understandably saddened when I learned Hedberg does not plan to publish a 2013 edition of the map, justifiably billed as "Essential information for the roving fan."

I exchanged email with Tom Hedberg, publisher of the map.  "It's the state of printed material—the economics have changed," Tom wrote.  Having lost money on the 2011 and 2012 editions, it doesn't make economic sense for them to incur the costs associated with updating the map for 2013.

A 2013 map would have neither Beavers nor Bears.

Doesn't make sense, that is, unless Hedberg gets one large order.  Hello?  Minor League Baseball?  You could order maps as a promotional item; I will leave the details to you.  Put the map into the hands of fans who already attend games at their local ballpark and some will find their way to other teams.  It's all about ticket sales.

Or what about you, StubHub?  If a fan buys a ticket to spring training or the College World Series or a minor league game someplace other than their billing address, you could throw in a free map.  These are people who have already proven they will travel to see baseball, and your logo on the map reminds them where to go to buy tickets.

Alright, I admit it ... I know little about how to create the partnership necessary to keep the Baseball Travel Map an ongoing venture.  But somebody must know how.  I do know I love the map and I will hate to see it go away.  I added a 2012 edition to my collection in the sad case it turns out to be the final version.

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