Steiner Sports is a premier provider of sports memorabilia of all kinds. In particular, it has held the "exclusive rights" to Yankee Stadium memorabilia since 2004. It's always been a lucrative business, but with the closing of the old Yankee Stadium following the last game in September 2008, Steiner Sports hit paydirt--literally.
They devised a marketing plan to sell everything--even the old seats and the restroom urinals--as a growing number of sports fans worldwide clamored for a literal "piece" of history. But the dirt and sod that clung to the cleats and stained the pants of baseball's giants--that's where the real money was to be found.
“Dirt really is a piece of history, and it is something other fans generally can’t get,” said a Steiner spokesman, who has been selling dirt from Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Dodger Stadium and other MLB diamonds for several years. “In some way, Yankee Stadium dirt connects you to Babe Ruth.”
As for the harvesting of the paydirt, the New York Post reports:
The dirt, collected before the old ballpark was demolished, has been used in some 360,000 and counting! collectibles that were sold to Yankee fans willing to dig deep into their pockets for a smidgen of the old Stadium’s sacred soil. …
Less than half an ounce was sealed in each of thousands of transparent plastic disks that were artfully inserted into souvenirs such as posters, plaques and paperweights.
More than three tons of the stuff has been dug out so far — and half of it was used in $10 million worth of products.
And the Yanks and their agent, Steiner Sports Collectibles, will probably score a double play.
The other half of the world’s most expensive dirt is being stored in barrels in New Rochelle, awaiting its transformation into additional keepsakes.
The products sell from as little as $20 for a small keychain with a few grains of dirt, to tens of thousands of dollars for a "star" signed plaque encasing dirt from the area surrounding home plate or sod from the infield.
But don't be fooled by imitation dirt or sod. Genuine Yankee sod comes with the following Steiner Sports Product Description:
Many considered the field at the original Yankee Stadium to be the most sacred turf in all of sports. The games' greatest and brightest stars have shined while playing on this beloved sod. Now you can own an actual piece of this legendary sod. Removed from the Stadium, your personal piece of pinstriped real estate will be freeze-dried. No care and maintenance is needed, your freeze-dried grass will stay like that forever. Each piece of ... freeze-dried sod comes in a glass display case with an engraved nameplate. A Yankees-Steiner Letter of Authenticity is included.
What was merely dirt to those who played the game has become something sacred in the minds and hearts of the throngs of adoring fans who are willing to lay down big bucks for it.
Indeed, God has given us the freedom to decide what we will choose to hail as truly significant, as sacred. But even though we've been given the freedom to venerate "this" or "that," God alone determines what is genuinely worthy of veneration. In fact, He has always held the "exclusive rights" to our adoration and worship, and He's not sharing them with anyone or anything--not even the New York Yankees!
That means the only sacred turf you'll ever really find is that on which you stand or bow in His presence. And we can choose to do that every moment of every day as we engage in all the details of our lives, from the mundane to the momentous, with an attitude of reverential awe for Who God is and all that He's done for us. In this way we make all ground "holy."
As God said to an awe-struck Moses, "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground" (Exodus 3:5).