Don't Get Fooled by Fraud

30. May 2014 10:50 by Julie Merar in infographic, TicketsNow  //  Tags:   //   Comments ()

 Risky business: The biggest ticket scams of recent years

Buying tickets off sites such as Craigslist is certainly risky business. These tickets have often been found to be nothing but fakes, causing much embarrassment and disappointment for the individuals that end up being denied entry and questioned at the door. Three notable ticket scams to arise in recent years have targeted a Broadway musical, a popular outdoor festival, and even the Super Bowl.

Trouble on the Great White Way
Instances of ticket forgery to Broadway shows are rare, though they have been known to occur. One of the most recent examples targeted the highly acclaimed musical Book of Mormon. The comedy, written by the creators of South Park, opened to rave reviews in 2011. Unfortunately, the incredible popularity of the show made it a target for scam artists looking to make a quick buck. The possibility of forgery was first brought to the company’s attention when a group of eight found that each of their tickets, when scanned, were linked to the same mezzanine seat, despite being sold as separate orchestra tickets. It seemed someone had bought a single ticket and then made copies of it, changing the seat location on each copy.

Coachella hack
Coachella, the popular outdoor music festival that takes place in Southern California every year, was the victim of a cyberscam by hackers who created a false ticket-ordering page. In this instance, a fake website was built to look like a login site for ticket-holders. They were asked to enter in their ticket information, which was then stolen from them by those who built the website.

Super Bowl prank
The 2013 Super Bowl was played between the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens in New Orleans. One 49ers fan thought she had found a great deal on tickets to the game, paying $5,900 to see her favorite team play. After wiring the money to the account of a Craigslist seller, Sharon Osgood received an overnight package in the mail that contained no tickets, just a note that read, "Enjoy the game!!!! Goo Ravens!!! LOL." It was Osgood, however, who had the last laugh. After going public with her story, she received four free Super Bowl tickets from Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard, as well as an extra free ticket from the San Francisco 49ers franchise. This is rare instance of a scam story with a happy ending.

2014 Baseball Hall of Fame Induction

15. May 2014 13:00 by Tiffany Parotto in Baseball  //  Tags:   //   Comments ()

Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas were the three MLB players selected to join the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014. After a voting process that resulted in an empty class of inductees in 2013, the chosen three will enter into the Baseball Hall of Fame in July.

Ever wondered how they choose who will be honored with a plaque in Cooperstown, N.Y.? Here is a rundown of the process, along with the significant accomplishments that earned these three a spot in the sport's history.

Election to the hall

Nomination to the Baseball Hall of Fame lies in the hands of a group of reporters known as the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA for short). This group of baseball journalists has been around since 1908 and currently counts over 700 members among its ranks. Of these 700 total members, only those who have been active for 10 seasons are eligible to vote for the Hall of Fame induction, or, as the pros call it - enshrinement.

These electors are tasked with voting on a long list of eligible candidates to determine who will be so enshrined. Unfortunately, candidacy for this election is a bit more stringent than the old throw-your-hat-in-the-ring tactic.

The players' MLB careers must have at least in part fallen within a strict period beginning 20 years prior and ending five years before the year of the election. So, for this year's election, only players that were active at some point between 1994 and 2009 got their name on the list. In addition, your career has to have lasted at least 10 MLB championship seasons. Meet those minimum requirements and you at least get to be considered for the ballot. 

However, getting on the list doesn't necessarily get you on the ballot. To do that, you have to get by the Screening Committee, a six-person team elected by the BBWAA to prepare the ballots. If you received at least 5 percent of the vote in the previous election you get automatic placement on the ballot. Meanwhile, first-timers must be nominated by at least two of the six committee members. The Screening Committee then arranges the names in alphabetical order and distributes the ballot to the electors.

At this point, electors have some options. They can vote for anywhere from zero to 10 of the names on the ballot for enshrinement. At the end of voting, only those players that over 75 percent of the electors voted for get to claim their spot in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

The 2014 election

This year's election was pretty exciting as it was only the second year since the first vote in 1936 that all the winners were first timers - a feat made even more impressive by the fact that nobody was elected by the BBWAA in 2013.

Greg Maddux swept the floor with more than 97 percent of the vote, receiving 555 of the 571 ballots. To put that number in perspective, the Great Bambino only mustered 95 percent of the vote during his election in 1936. Experts considered Maddux a likely candidate going into the vote due to his impressive career as a pitcher for the Atlanta Braves. His 23-year career spanned 335 game wins, four Cy Young Awards, 18 Gold Glove Awards and eight All-Star games. With a career ERA of 3.16, the only surprise that many insiders felt after his announcement was that the vote wasn't unanimous.

Fellow Braves pitcher Tom Glavine racked up 305 wins over his 22-year career as a left-handed starting pitcher alongside Maddux. He is notable for his ability to sustain his talent well into the later years of his career, getting an invite to the 2006 All-Star Game at the age of 40, rounding out his total number of All-Star games to 10. Glavine also cruised through the election with 91 percent of the vote.

Frank Thomas, the designated hitter and first baseman for the Chicago White Sox, collected 83.7 percent of the vote. With a career batting average of .301, 521 home runs and over 1,700 RBIs, Thomas was clearly a first-rate hitter during his time. A winner of the American League MVP Award in 1993 and 1994, he clearly is no stranger to awards.

Unfortunately, poor Craig Biggio just couldn't catch a break during this year's election. This is the Houston Astros player's second year on the ballot and he managed to clock in at 74.8 percent of the vote, a mere .2 percent away from the qualifying percentage. There is always next year.

What do you think? Were there any snubs during this year's election? Can Biggio pull it together for a successful 2015 bid? Do too many American sports start with the letter "B"? Let us know in the comments!

The Leading Ladies of NASCAR

8. May 2014 09:00 by Tiffany Parotto in Sports   //  Tags: , ,   //   Comments ()

NASCAR gets our engines revved up no matter what. Add beautiful and talented drivers like Beccy Gordon, Maryeve Dufault and Jamie Little to the mix and you're in for one hot season. While NASCAR may still be thought of as a man's sport, women are influencing NASCAR now more than ever. From female drivers and reporters to NASCAR wives and girlfriends, women at the front of the pack. 

10. Maryeve Dufault

The perfect blend of model and driver, Maryeve Dufault comes to NASCAR from the racing circuits of Canada. Being a native of Quebec, Dufault can not only pass by other drivers on the track, but taunt them in French while she does it! Regularly listed as one of the best female drivers today, her talents range from being a Hollywood stunt double to doing precision driving for some of the top car manufacturers in the world.

9.  Beccy Gordon

Daughter of the Gordon off-road racing dynasty that includes such icons as Huntley Gordon, "Baja Bob" Gordon and Robby Gordon, Beccy Gordon is as close to racing royalty as you can get. She also has the distinction of having being the youngest player ever to play on the USA National Softball League. She went on to model for clients such as Ralph Lauren and Victoria's Secret. This racing princess has driving in her blood. Too bad IndyCar racer Ryan Hunter-Reay took her off the market in 2011. 

8. Jamie Little

The only thing hotter than this stunning pit reporter is a tire fire. A frequent contributer to ESPN/ABC Jamie Little became known for her reporting on the NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Series. Not only is she attractive, but Little is also smart. Her knowledge of the sport paid off in 2008 when she won the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race. Not just a pretty face, this beauty knows her way around a racetrack.

7. Chrissy Wallace

This NASCAR girl has racing in her blood. Daughter of celebrated driver Mike Wallace, Chrissy Wallace has gone so far as to follow in her dad's footsteps by winning the American Speed Association Late Model track championship at Lebanon/I-44 speedway in 2011 - a feat her father accomplished 21 years earlier. The blond bombshell is the first female to win that title. 

6. Jennifer Jo Cobb

A girl so nice they named her twice! Jennifer Jo Cobb is taken care of business with her NASCAR team Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing, LLC. A leader in the Camping World Truck Series, Cobb has also driven for the Nationwide Series. Her charity work is what sets her apart from the other women in NASCAR - with her Driven2Honor nonprofit she is supporting our nation's female veterans.

5. Jordan Fish

Denny Hamlin met his girlfriend Jordan Fish while she was dancing as a cheerleader for the Charlotte Bobcats. Now, several years and a daughter later, Fish has become the honorary head MILF of NASCAR. Fish's relationship with Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin began when he sponsored her competition in the Miss USA pageant as a representative from South Carolina - further evidence that southern girls can't be beat.

4. Ingrid Vandebosch

Jeff Gordon may be the current record holder for the most consecutive poles in the Sprint Cup Series, but his greatest accomplishment is definitely marrying Ingrid Vandebosch. The Belgian hottie is not only married to one of the greatest drivers the sport has ever seen, but is also a successful model and actress in her own right. On the side, she designs her own line of lingerie - which just might be the hottest job on the planet. 

3. Jacquelyn Butler

The wife of driver Dave Ragan has the distinction of being one of the fastest wives in NASCAR, having won the 2011 Better Half Dash at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Another Southern belle to grace NASCAR fans with her presence, Jacquelyn Butler was introduced to racing at a young age by her babysitter. A diehard Jeff Gordon fan, she even dressed up as the racing legend one year for Halloween.

2. The Cope Twins

NASCAR's resident hot blond twins are Ashley and Amber Cope. While their appearances in the Nationwide Series may be few and far between, every time they do show up it is certainly a treat for audiences. Even the magazine Maxim took notice of these NASCAR girls, publishing a spread of the twosome.

1. Danica Patrick

The original queen of NASCAR, Danica Patrick has the looks and the skill to back it up. Her success started in the IndyCar Series with a win at the 2008 Indy Japan 300 and a third-place finish in the 2009 Indianapolis 500. Despite being the most successful female driver in American open-wheel racing, it wasn't until Patrick's provocative Go Daddy commercials aired that she became a household name. In 2012 she made the transition to NASCAR through appearances in the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series. A Wisconsin native, Patrick is the ultimate all-American girl next door with the power and talent to give the big boys a run for their money.

Who gets your engine revved up? Tell us Facebook!

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