Everybody’s Got A Price

2016 was a strange year for me. Somehow, through networking in Sarasota, I found myself directing a series of web-only commercials for a local, used car dealership. Despite not having any professional equipment and being saddled with a star (car salesman) who couldn’t remember lines, each video’s view count kept growing by the thousands. In our 4th or 5th spot, we hit well over 20,000 views on Facebook in a month, which was a lot considering Sarasota is a relatively small city and the business, which I won’t name, was tiny. At most, they could only squeeze 8-10 vehicles on their lot.

One day I explained to the owner that we needed a proper camera, a video editing program, and a star who could generate some real attention for his company. Somehow, I got the guy to purchase a state of the art video camera, a proper video editor, and a $2,000 budget for a “star” or at least a few trained actors to star in the next commercial. Sarasota does have some famous residents like Paul Reubens AKA “Pee Wee Herman” and Jerry Springer to name a few but I’m assuming that neither one needed the money or wanted the exposure that a low-budget, used card commercial would bring them.

I’ve spent time in Pee Wee’s home in 2015 … but I’ll save that for another blog.

That day, while hanging out at the Baltimore Orioles’ spring training facility I ran into former 50-home run slugger, Brady Anderson. He was very approachable and fan friendly and this particular facility had no more than 10-15 autograph hounds in the entire place. I could easily ask him to take part right then and there. That’s when I had an epiphany. No one but a baseball nerd like me knows who Brady Anderson is but everyone pretty much knows the name ‘Jose Canseco’ and many know the face. If not, a 6’4″, 240 lbs. man is one hell of a way to get my commercial noticed.

The Director (left), owner (center), and star (right) of the low-budget but popular Sarasota used car commercials

I immediately contacted Jose’s agent on the phone and made my pitch. I needed Jose for one day of shooting, with less than 30 seconds of actual lines. We would pay for his round trip fare from Las Vegas to Sarasota and would arrange a ride to and from the airport. At most, I could squeeze out $2,000 for his one-day gig. Jose’s manager told me he would talk to Jose that afternoon and get back to me, which was great because I needed to write a script for the spot, which was possibly going to air on local television programming. I immediately began working on a scenario which would involve my childhood idol, Jose Canseco. It was to say the least, a damn good day for me.

As you can imagine, I was in absolute Heaven at the idea that I would be spending a day with Canseco and possibly even working alongside my hero. By the end of the day I heard back from Jose’s agent and he was demanding $8,000 for Jose’s appearance. Unfortunately, that was the end of my negotiations with Mr. Canseco. I don’t remember what the commercial we eventually shot was but I was pretty disillusioned and ended my directing career a few months later. Something tells me, Brady Anderson would have been much cheaper.

Today, for the low price of $150 U.S.D, you can get Jose Canseco to read your message on camera thanks to a company called Cameo. In my life, I have wasted that type of money on much dumber things so part of me really wants to do this but only if I can get Jose to read my message, word for fucking word. After 29 years of devotion and loyalty to this guy not to mention a lifetime of being let down by him, it seems like the very least he can do after randomly un-following me on Twitter this week. Hell, this may happen in 2019 so make sure to stay tuned.

I wasn’t joking … this is a real thing

As for my baseball card collection: I hit a small milestone. This weekend I broke 1,300 different cards (1,303, actually) after a card buying binge on eBay, CheckOutMyCards, and SportsLots. Most of these purchases were done on New Year’s Eve and perhaps helped soothe a little depression I was going through for being alone on the holidays for the first time in a long time. Packages from these purchases began arriving on 1/6 but there are still more left that I expect will be here on Monday. It was great to pick up missing cards but what I really need are these TWENTY. If you can help, let me know.

As I mentioned earlier, I made it 29 years through Jose’s uneven career, missed HOF numbers, steroid admission, domestic abuse arrests, jail time, and so much more so there’s no way I won’t make it to year 30 in 2020. Thanks to Topps Company, his signature is almost worthless so I will continue picking up cards these poor collectors on breaks and bustin’ wax are being saddled with. With all due respect, your loss is my gain. As a long time collector I must say, thank God I don’t spend money on wax anymore. It’s just one kick in the nuts after another, especially when big name breakers bust 60-80 cases at a time.

Finally, I received over 40 cards of Jose this week including rare items, serial numbered pieces, game-used relics and certified autographs but hands down my favorite card comes from 1993 Pacific Prism. What can I say, guys? I was dead wrong about this brand and really this company. This card looks magnificent in person and I am so happy to finally be able to add it to my collection. I hate to toot my own horn but last year I came THIS CLOSE to finding the reclusive Mike Cramer. It’s a must-read for fans of Pacific Trading Cards or those who collected cards in the 90s.

Thank you,

-Mario Alejandro

Thank you, Pacific

One thought on “Everybody’s Got A Price

  1. Damn. He unfollowed you? I’m not a big Twitter guy, but that sounds pretty crappy. Can’t wait to see what you decide to have him read… if you decide to drop the $150.

    P.S. Congratulations on reaching the 1,300 milestone!

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