Winter Meetings Day 2: Will Gotcha's mini jersey pins be the next MLB collectible craze?
Japan is a vending machine-crazy place and at least one man is hoping that spirit translates to North American MLB stadiums.
Mitsoyushi Uno, who works for the Sports Promotion Department of Tokyo's Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper, was at the Winter Meetings' Baseball Trade Show to showcase his company's "Gotcha" machines. For five dollars, these automated retail stands dispense capsules containing miniature jersey pins with player names and numbers.
The hope, he said, is that fans will buy more and more in an attempt to get their favorite players' jerseys. A machine set up at an MLB stadium might contain jerseys for all 25 players on a given team, creating opportunities, like baseball cards, of some being rarer or more prestigious.
Uno said the Gotcha machines are already very popular in Japan and will be at Yankee Stadium in 2013. He's hoping the rest of MLB follows suit, and only time will tell whether his creations take off on this side of the Pacific.
-- Dan Wohl / MLB.com