Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Pittsburgher busted for selling fake jerseys via Korea.

From WPXI:
An Army veteran who made contacts with counterfeiters while serving in South Korea pleaded guilty Tuesday to trafficking in Asian-made knock-off jerseys that violated trademarks held by the NFL, NBA, MLB and Philadelphia nostalgia sports apparel maker Mitchell & Ness.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, Anthony Powell, 47, of Pittsburgh, likely faces 12 to 18 months in prison when he is sentenced March 23 by a federal judge.
. . .
Powell began buying and re-selling the counterfeit jerseys from undisclosed suppliers while he was stationed in South Korea and continued to receive them -- sometimes by falsifying customs documents -- when he returned to Pittsburgh, Hull told the judge. He also had them mailed to other peoples' addresses to avoid detection.

Powell bought the jerseys for $15 to $20 each and sold them for $30 to $50 apiece on Craigslist and eBay -- until the online auction site "threw him off for selling the counterfeits," Hull said.

Investigators reconstructed Powell's business based on information he provided and concluded "he netted at least $24,000 a year from 2004" until his arrest in August 2008, Hull said.
I would think it'd be less hassle to produce and traffic knock-offs domestically, rather than having to get them from South Korea.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Good neighbors at Green Pepper.

I'm late in sharing this from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Random Acts of Kindness section on Thanksgiving:
One evening, a couple named Dawn and Kwan shared their meal with me at a Korean restaurant on Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill.

I was eating alone. They sat next to me, said hello, and asked me about being at the restaurant. When they heard I had never eaten Korean food before, they proceeded to pull my table next to theirs and welcomed me to try their cuisine.

They got me a plate and shared their food with me. I was touched by their friendliness and generosity. It gave me an opportunity to try and enjoy food that I was unfamiliar with. The staff at the restaurant were also kind and informative. I will be back there again for another wonderful experience.

Thank you, Dawn and Kwan, for sharing a lovely meal and evening with me.
I think I was sitting across from this trio; well, I remember seeing something like this happen at Green Pepper at a visit a few months ago, anyway, when two people invited a third to pull her table together and share their food. The efforts to globalize Korean food get criticized a lot when Korean restaurants abroad are unwelcoming to non-Koreans, inaccessible to new diners, or prohibitively expensive. It's nice to see good neighbors coming together at Green Pepper to give a friendly welcome the uninitiated.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Pirates looking at pitchers Wei-Yin Chen and Tsuyoshi Wada.

A couple of sites are reporting the Pittsburgh Pirates are looking at a couple of pitchers who played in Japan last year, Wei-Yin Chen and Tsuyoshi Wada.

For what it's worth, the Pirates have had rotten success with the few Asian players they've signed. The most intriguing was Masumi Kuwata, a 20-year-veteran and 8-time All-Star pitcher out of Japan. He was 39-years-old when the Pirates signed him, though, and the sequence on his Baseball Reference wiki page shows a typical trend in Pirates acquisitions:
"1987-1994: The Glory Years," "1995-1996: Injury," "1997-2002: Post-Injury," "2003-2006: Further decline," "To the USA."
After 19 games with the Pirates in 2007, he retired in the next spring training:
Kuwata, a baseball superstar in his native Japan, formally announced his retirement after the Pirates' 7-4 victory against the Detroit Tigers this afternoon, a game in which manager John Russell asked him to pitch one final time as a show of respect. But he declined.

"He told us he's pitched thousands of innings, that we should use that time to look at pitchers for our future," Russell said. "He's a class act, a true professional and a great human being. We wish him the best of luck in everything he does."

The ritual at the mound was meant to symbolize a farewell to the game. And, although Kuwata's impact in Pittsburgh was negligible, some in the assembled Japanese media were saying that this farewell would top their nation's news for the day.

"He's a legend in our country," said reporter Yasuko Yanagita, who broke the story of Kuwata's retirement for the Hochi Shimbun sports daily. "Everyone will want to know about this, and everyone will be surprised."
Next the Pirates tried reliever Byung-hyun Kim, who never made it out of spring training in 2008 because he wanted to start. Before the 2010 season they acquired infielder Aki Iwamura, who would hit .182 with 9 RBIs through 54 games and be among the worst Pirates in recent memory. Late in the season they claimed pitcher Chan-ho Park off waivers from the Yankees. Park is the best-known of the Korean players in his home country, and during his limited time with Pittsburgh he pitched fairly well and would set the record for most wins by an Asian-born pitcher in the Major Leagues.

Then again, the Pirates have had rotten success with most of the players they've signed the last two decades. If Chen and/or Wada are signed, it will only be a matter of time before they're traded for backup catchers and 26-year-old Double-A pitchers.