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Ball Boys Premiere

March 24, 2012 by staff 

Ball Boys Premiere, In January the Discovery Channel introduced “All Star Dealers,” a reality show about sports memorabilia that seemed not to have a clue how to make good use of its seemingly television-ready subject matter.

On Saturday ABC turns the identical ingredients — family-owned shop, wide array of memorabilia, occasional appearances by professional athletes — into a tasty morsel with “Ball Boys.” The focus is a shop called Robbie’s First Base, near Baltimore, and the four genial men at the center of it know how to make the stories behind old jerseys and ticket stubs interesting. Though who besides prison inmates will be watching in this time slot — Saturday afternoon in the spring — remains a mystery.

The shop is run by Robbie Davis Sr., who is comfortable on camera and affable but hard-nosed when it comes time to negotiate a sale or purchase. Between customers he debates vital sports questions like whether Babe Ruth could hit today’s pitchers with a son, Robbie Jr., and two employees who go by the names Sweet Lou and Shaggy.

Everyone has a refreshing sense of humor. When someone brings in a pair of autographed boxing gloves, Sweet Lou, a rather stout fellow, confesses, “The only boxer I know is George Foreman, because I have his grill.”

But the banter here is just a fringe benefit. The main attraction is the memorabilia, and while “All Star Dealers” seemed to deaden the stories behind its items, “Ball Boys” enlivens them. In the premiere, when a customer wants to sell a football helmet supposedly signed by Jim Brown, Brown himself strolls in to authenticate the signature.

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