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All-Star Game dealing is in full swing online

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 14, 2009 - As you’d expect in 2009, there’s a robust online market for all things All-Star Game. Ticket holders are asking exorbitant amounts for access to the main event and downtown condo owners are looking to cash in on their prime real estate for the long weekend.

And there’s a whole other layer of resume passing, service offering and deal making that takes place on Craigslist (beyond the casual encounters section, of course) in the days before a major sporting event. Here’s a sampling of what you can find on the popular online classified site:

• Small-business owner Nick Lyter looking for a freelance graphic artist to help him create a poster for the All-Star Game. The concept is based off of artist Shepard Fairey’s ubiquitous red-and-blue Barack Obama “Hope” image and would likely include the president making a pitching motion with the St. Louis skyline in the background. Lyter, a self-described “big Cardinals fan” who paints regularly, said he’s curious to see whether such a poster would sell big at the event. “It’s the first time St. Louis is welcoming back Barack Obama as president,” he said. “I want to capitalize on the event, but mostly this is a celebration of all the people who did a bunch of work to get the president elected.”

*** UPDATE: Lyter ended up asking a friend (not found on Craigslist) to help him with the design of the poster. He sold 20 in about three hours Monday at Busch Stadium and plans to take 60 more down Tuesday. (He is selling them for $10 or $15 with his signature.)

• Dan Jones, a freelance web designer, is offering to help individuals or companies create a professional website in exchange for two tickets to the game and/or the Home Run Derby. Jones said he decided to offer his services after failing to get tickets through other efforts and after realizing that the rate he charges for work is more than what many people are charging for tickets. “It’s an historic event in St. Louis, and I would like to be there,” he said. "My best friend would never be able to afford a ticket to the All-Star Game or Derby. It would be a great gesture to get him in the stadium for the event."

• Michael Austin, owner and operator of St. Louis 3Wheel Taxi, found enough drivers to accommodate the throngs of people who will be looking for transportation around the stadium. For a normal Cardinals game, he would employ seven bike riders to take passengers through the streets of downtown. For the All-Star Game festivities he needs 14 people a day. He said Craigslist has been the No. 1 tool throughout the year for getting taxi drivers. For this event, he got so many responses that he stopped answering e-mails.

• The same was true for Scott Wilson, who works for William Lopa Studios, a company that sells sports art at major events. Wilson put out a request for “spokesmodels,” a job that mostly entails attracting people to come inside the company’s booth to buy the work of the artist, Bill Lopa. (The company is selling Albert Pujols posters signed by Lopa.) More than 200 people responded to the spokesmodel call by sending pictures and resumes, and Wilson hired five people from around St. Louis to work during the All-Star Game Fan Fest. Baseball knowledge was a plus, Wilson said, and some of the applicants were 20-something Cardinals season-ticket holders. He is quite open about the main qualification for the job: “A lot of it’s definitely looks; it’s a modeling job,” he said.

• Also worth noting are posts offering home-cooked meals and an RV parking spot for the game, and two free Home Run Derby tickets for a signed 13-month lease on a Washington Avenue loft.