The saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” definitely rings true here at FantasyTrophies.com. The other day I was on my way to the shop when I spotted a 50″ Samsung television outside of the coffee shop I go to each morning. I’ve been thinking about how incredible it would be to watch football games on an HDTV while working on Sundays and came close to buying a 32″ television at Best Buy. So when I saw the 50″ it no doubt caught my eye. Of course though you figure there is no way it works if it’s sitting on the curb. Just then two girls walked out of their place and said, “it’s still here.” The other responded, ” I bet people think it doesn’t work at all.” That’s all I needed to hear. It was soon at my shop where I plugged it in and tested it out. It works perfectly except for a small thin black line that runs across the screen horizontally. It’s so thin though that you barely see it. If only my Browns could go from trash to treasure my Sundays would be as awesome as this flat screen.
Well, it didn’t take long for Johnny Manziel to screw up and find himself as the backup quarterback for the Cleveland Browns yet again. This time though he’s been demoted all the way to third string. Quite a week for a guy that was told he would be the starter for the last six games of the regular season. As a Browns fan I was actually looking forward to seeing what Manziel could do. Could he lead a team and show promise or would he be just another name on the always growing list of disappointing Browns quarterbacks. The latter seems to be the one to bet on at this time. Manziel was caught on video over last weekend drinking and singing at a rooftop bar. Not a big deal. After all, he’s over age and the Browns were on their bye week. However, when you tell the coach that you’re going to hit the books and be professional and then do the complete opposite, it’s not a good look. The kicker though is when you lie to the organization and say the video was old. Really? This is the guy the Browns are considering handing over the offense to? The guy can’t even make the right decision off the field leading up to the biggest professional game of his short career. I say move on from Manziel and be done with his drinking, partying, and lying ways. Let him be a problem for another organization. The Browns need to focus on so much more and the last thing they should be dealing with is a guy who can’t be taken at his word who has a drinking problem. Just my frustrated two cents worth.
Johnny Manziel has the last 6 games of this season to prove to the Browns organization and to it’s fan base that he can lead this team to the playoffs and ultimately the Super Bowl. Stop laughing. I know, I know, the idea of Manziel being able to do just that makes even a die-hard fan like myself question my sanity. Sure, Manziel has shown a few glimpses of his former Heisman winning Texas A&M self on a hand full of plays. But didn’t Brandon Weeden impress us with his cannon-like arm when he was the starting QB? I remember Brady Quinn looking like he had potential and Derek Anderson playing in the Pro Bowl. The bottom line is that Johnny Manziel has to not only impress Browns fans in these final games, he needs to absolutely blow us away. If he doesn’t I have a strong feeling that number one pick we’re staring at is going to have QB written all over it. Once again!
One of the many reasons I love living in NYC is that I sometimes get to work on jobs that are memorable to say the least. Case and point- helping to install the Bat Mobile. Yesterday I was at the New York Historical Society to install a platform I helped build that will showcase the Bat Mobile from the 1970’s TV show. I remember watching Batman and Robin drive through the streets of Gotham as they foiled every evil plot the Joker could conceive. To be standing next to the car over 40 years later was pretty surreal. AND AWESOME!
If you’re interested in seeing the car it is part of the “Superheroes In Gotham” exhibit beginning October 9th. Check it out!
No one likes handing over your league’s fantasy football trophy. Especially when it’s a Throwback or an Armchair Quarterback trophy. It’s one of those things in fantasy football that just flat out sucks. Kinda right up there with listening to your buddy explain why he took his kicker in the 9th round. It’s never a good thing. This photo captures that moment perfectly.
Being invited to a fantasy football draft isn’t all that odd of an occurrence for me. Being invited to a fantasy football draft held by cops of the NYPD, now that’s something that doesn’t happen every day. So when I received an email from Avi, a police officer here in Brooklyn, I jumped at the chance. After all, it was a great excuse to have a few beers and scout how my draft might go down a few days later in Cleveland. Plus it was awesome to hear from the guys of the league on how they liked their trophy, The Armchair Cop. You see, Avi was the one that contacted me about designing a fantasy football trophy specifically for police officers. He had seen the couple of trophies that I did for firefighters and he was hoping I could do the same for them. I was all for it but only under one condition. I wanted them to help in the design. Avi and a few of the guys came to my shop and gave their input. From handcuffs to old school aviator glasses and a 70’s mustache, they were all included. The shoulder holster was my idea. The legendary character Fish from “Barney Miller” provided the inspiration. Anyway, the trophy turned out great, if I must say so myself, and it holds a special place in the history of FantasyTrophies.com. Soon it’s going to be up on the site and precincts all over the country will hopefully see the “charm” in playing for a trophy designed specifically for them, by them.
As I sit here in my Brooklyn studio writing this post, I still don’t think it has fully sunk in that two guys from Sports Illustrated and the MMQB were here interviewing me for a video feature on FantasyTrophies.com. As a ten year old I would draw images of athletes from the covers of SI, totally enthralled in capturing every detail. I would then cut them out and tape them to my bedroom walls as my little shrine to sports greatness. So to now have Sports Illustrated interested in something that I’ve done just doesn’t seem possible. After all, I’m just a guy from Cleveland, Ohio that hand crafts trophies for fantasy sports leagues. A Super Bowl MVP or Cy Young Award was never in the cards and I never dreamed the magazine that I so loved as a kid would actually one day interview me.
Matt and John’s reaction, upon entering my studio, made it clear that they thought they made the right decision. Matt admitted that the story of me starting in my parent’s garage and now producing trophies in a shop in Brooklyn was what drew him to the story. Hearing about how Jay-Z, Curt Schilling, Cole Hamels, and other celebrities play for my trophies was just icing on the cake. The real story was on how I found a niche that I love and was able to build a business off of that. Something that I know that ten year old boy would’ve thought was pretty cool as well.
Anyone that knows my Dad knows that he is no doubt the hardest working man you’ll ever run across. I guess when your formative years are spent in Italy, as a shepherd boy working on a farm, it tends to have an influence on who you become. Let’s just say the word “work” isn’t in his vocabulary. I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “Son, don’t think of it as work and, before you know it, it’ll be done.” So when my parents said they were going to come visit us in New York City during my busy season, I knew that my Dad had giving me a hand as his idea of a vacation. Hey, he was offering so I was accepting. Plus it gave us some time to connect since he’s in Cleveland and I’m in NYC and talking on the phone isn’t either one of our strengths. He came with me to the shop twice and I put him on finishing bases while I filled the numerous orders that came in just before draft season. Once I put on the 50’s station on Spotify I knew he could go all day without even thinking of taking a break. Break? I don’t even think he would’ve asked for a drink of water if I didn’t offer one up.
One thing I do know though is that I haven’t had that type of productive day in a long, long time. And learning a few dance moves was an added bonus.
Thanks Dad and you’re always welcome at FantasyTrophies.com. I’ll provide the music and water.
It’s been a crazy few months filling fantasy football trophy orders so I haven’t really been disciplined when it comes to the blog. I apologize. However, I’m going to be rolling out a few things in the next few weeks and trying to catch up on some of the news that occurred over these past weeks. Here is one thing that happened. I was featured in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Thank you Paula Katinas for writing a nice little article on FantasyTropies.com. Check it out here:
Creating a logo for my fantasy football teams isn’t always easy. It has to be something that speaks to the team name I choose and it’s gotta be cool to look at. This year my buddy Mario and I named our team “Sleeps With The Fishes.” We’re both Italian and the Godfather theme seems to work for us. Last year “Take the Cannolis” almost won it all and we figured we’d try our luck again with a reference from the original movie. Once we decided on the name it was time to get to work. I like having both of us in it and going with a circular format allows the logo to fit nicely in the CBS website’s logo format. You can see the finished product here along with our starting line-up and bench in the 12 team PPR league.
I haven’t decided yet on my other team’s name quite yet.