Sunday, April 22, 2012

Review/Giveaway: BigR Audio Yankee Headphones

A cool new product came across my desk, and I think you guys would really be interested in them. They are a pair of Limited Edition New York Yankees Headphones made by BiGR Audio out in California, and man, are these things sweet.

I've never used anything aside from the crappy headphones that came with my iPod, and I can't believe the incredible difference these BiGR headphones made. For those of you that know me in real life (wait, this isn't real life?) you know I'm a bit of an amateur tech geek. I like to do my research when it comes to electronics, and I put these  BiGR 's to the test. First up was a limited edition gold pressed CD of Pink Floyd's 1971 album Meddle that I have tucked away in my collection (nerd alert). I was blown away, plain and simple. The headphones give an amazing sound, and I heard elements of the record that I never knew existed.

From there, I went to the iPod (and the mp3's that come with it) and I was very impressed. As I said, I'm a bit of a geek, so I'm sure to rip my own music at high bit rates. But even with internet sourced mp3 files, sound was a tremendous improvement over the stock headphones. For those that care about the particulars, I figured out my test like this:

Testing the highs: Listened to a bunch of horns and guitars the first night...Mostly old Mighty Mighty Bosstones and then some Gov't Mule and Derek Trucks Band.

Testing the lows: Old school rap, all day long. Wu-Tang, Beastie Boys, Redman and lots and lots of Biggie

Testing the power: Soundboard recording of Metallica's set from the Big 4 show at Yankee Stadium (practically made my head explode. and yes, that's a good thing!)

All in all, I was incredibly pleased with these headphones. They don't feel big and bulky, and they have an extra long cord (with volume and phone controls) that I found convenient to use while working. They also come in a reusable bamboo box to keep them safe when not in use.

They retail for $199 (worth it) but as a special for my readers, you can use coupon code baldvinny to save you $70 off of your purchase on

As if saving money wasn't good enough, the fine folks at BiGR Audio have graciously donated a pair of headphones to give away. To enter, you must follow both @BaldVinny and @BiGRAudio on Twitter, and send a tweet to both accounts using the hash tag #BVSentMe. One winner using that hash tag will be randomly chosen to receive their very own pair of Limited Edition Yankee Headphones ( BiGR will choose the winner, so don't try to bribe me!).

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Don't Call It a Comeback

I’m going to be completely honest with you guys. 

I have zero desire to write this blog.

In fact, it’s taken me three nights just to get this far. The thing is, I really don’t think there is anything that has to be “announced”. Yes, I’ll be back in the bleachers for another season. But it’s not because I’ve improved my situation at all from my last blog. In fact, I’m essentially coming back because I couldn’t find another job.

I’ve always been honest with you guys, because without you there would be no me (cliché I know, but really appropriate). My whole business/persona revolves around “being a fan” and I’ve always counted on your advice, support and encouragement. In a way writing these blogs is somewhat cathartic (and way cheaper than a therapist). So, let me get a whole bunch of stuff out of the way and then we can all get back to making a ton of noise in the bleachers. 

To say this was a rough winter would be understatement of the century. Looking for a job S-U-C-K-S! I know that it’s rough out there for a lot of people, and I certainly sympathize with each and every one of you. For my particular situation, I found it especially difficult. I feel I am one of those people that can work well in just about any job. When it came down to “what I want to do” it was an impossible question to answer because all I ever really wanted to do was take the Bleacher Creatures to the next level. Everything else seemed to me like settling. 

That’s not to say I was inundated with offers. In fact, it was quite the contrary. I sent out resumes daily for the better part of 3 months, and did not get ONE interview. For a while I had no direction (still not sure that I do) and just sent out a ton of resumes for any job that seemed remotely interesting. Then I focused on two things I’m good at (sales and event planning) and concentrated on those.  Since the middle of February I’ve had one reply, which was a request for salary history. That’s been about it. 

About the middle of March is when I knew I was pretty much out of options and that I had to return to the Bronx. I have my heart and soul poured into a tiny tee shirt company and as much as I would love a situation in which I can move on, it’s just not feasible. I simply need to work and though it may be unsatisfying professionally at the moment, it is my job.

If you read my last blog (and seriously, if you haven’t, none of this probably makes any sense) my biggest concern with what I do is the inconsistency. Standing in the rain to sell tee shirts is not exactly what I aspire to do with my life. There has been little change to that aspect over this winter, and in a way that troubles me.  It’s making me not look forward to returning, even though I know it is what it is. I can’t control the weather (yet) or whether the Yankees win or lose and I just have to deal with that side effect to my business. 

This season, I plan to focus on something that I can control, and that is my exposure within the market and the growth of my business.  I’d like to concentrate on growing my fan base, and reaching out to more hardcore Yankee fans. There will be some great contests and charity events this coming season, and I hope to get many of my fellow Creatures involved. 

I’m also really happy to announce my continued partnership with Without their support, there is absolutely no way I would be able to return this year. For those of you that are not aware, TiqIQ is an event ticket aggregator that tracks prices and individual ticket listings in the dynamically changing ticket market.  They are an essential shopping tool for anyone purchasing tickets on the secondary market for all events, not just baseball. In addition to bringing you the best deals on Yankee tickets, there will be contests and giveaways throughout the season. There are a few other things being planned, but I’ll have to leave some surprises. 

The last thing to address is the hardest, and I think in the end that’s really why I didn’t want to sit down and write this blog. There has been zero development with my relationship with the Yankees, and that is what keeps me up at night more than anything about returning. There was no communication at all over the winter with either the team or the network. Of all of my attempts at contact, I got one computer generated form letter from HR about “keeping my resume on file”. Not one person in the entire organization felt it remotely prudent to reach out in any capacity to simply talk to me. 

A good friend gave me a great analogy recently. It’s like the move “A Bronx Tale”, when a young Calogero meets Sonny for the first time. Little C is upset at Bill Mazeroski for making Mickey Mantle cry. Sonny says to the boy:  

 “Mickey Mantle makes $100,000 a year. How much money does your father make? (I don’t know) You don’t know?  If your father needs money to pay the rent, go ask Mickey Mantle. See what happens. Mickey Mantle don't care about you. Why care about him?”

 For some reason, I can’t get that quote out of my head.
So why do I care? Or, better yet, how do I go back to caring? I’m still not quite sure about that. I’ll always love baseball, and I’ll always love the Yankees (even if I don’t feel the love in return). My passion for the game, as it exists in my head at this moment, is certainly different that what I know exists in my heart. I am confident (ok, maybe not confident, maybe just hoping) that once I get back to the Bronx some of those emotions will change.  They’ll have to change, or I just don’t think it will work anymore. 

Though, in the end, I know when I get back to 203 and see so many of my old friends, it’ll be hard not to be fired up. And in a way, it kind of brings me back full circle. I started sitting in the bleachers back in 1998 because it felt good to get up on a bench and yell. Nothing felt more exhilarating after a long day of work. It was the ultimate stress reliever. I think on opening day this year, I have a whole winter’s worth of stress that I need to get out. 

As for the rest of the summer, I am once again going to count on the fans to help me along. I get a lot of inspiration from the passionate people that I meet day to day, and I really think that you guys are going to be the thing to help me care again. Excitement is contagious and there is no better example of that than in 203.

Finally, I really do want to sincerely thank all of the folks who reached out over the winter to check in or to ask about my return. As a small business owner, I am grateful to have such amazing customers. As a fellow Yankee fan, I’m grateful for having such an amazing second family. And of course, I have to thank my real family, for putting up with me at home all winter and for having faith in one more try. This IS the “do or die trying” year. There is no question about that. In a way, this feels like my second chance, and I really have to make the most of it this year. 

Thanks again for riding along, and I hope to see you all in the Bronx this summer.