ABC network programming is hoping to hit a homerun with its new reality show, featuring a local sports memorabilia shop.
The show, Ball Boys, features characters from Robbie’s 1st Base, a Lutherville-based sports shop and postal service business. Robbie Davis Sr., who runs the business out of his 9 West Ridgely Rd. location, said the show is being produced by Leftfield Pictures—the same company that launched The History Channel’s Pawn Stars into stardom.
While Pawn Stars sometimes calls on professional historians to verify the authenticity of wares, Ball Boys features major professional athletes.
“We buy and sell memorabilia, negotiate details, go travel and go find high-end memorabilia. We went to the [Baseball] Hall of Fame to look for some stuff there,” said Robbie Davis Jr., for whom the shop was named.
Suddenly, Davis Sr. produces a photo of former Reds all-star Pete Rose, standing shoulder to shoulder with the stars and employees of Ball Boys.
“I knew ballplayers before I came here and ballplayers know other ballplayers and that’s how I established that connection,” Davis Sr. said. “I could pick up the phone and call them and that’s what we do.
“A guy comes in to sell us a Jim Brown helmet and he doesn’t have a letter of authenticity so I say ‘No problem’, I just call Jim Brown and he comes in,” he said teasing a part of the show.
Leftfield Pictures approached Robbie’s 1st Base about 18 months ago, according to Davis Jr. They spent about a week filming a sales tape.
Leftfield has since produced 12 half-hour episodes, the first two are scheduled to air on Saturday March 24 at 3 and 3:30 p.m. Davis Sr. says he’s already hoping for a second season.
“We hope that people like this,” Davis Sr. began. “These guys who shot Pawn Stars, they shot us. They said we were as good as they are, better than them initially. They think we’re going to have a second season. ... They must’ve saw something in us that could rival Pawn Stars for ABC to pick us up.”
Before taking the helm at a sports memorabilia shop, Davis Sr. ran a car dealership where, through sponsorships and endorsement deals, he developed relationships with Orioles legend Eddie Murray.
“Through Eddie, I met Brooks Robinson, Al Bumbry, all these guys and I just kept the relationships all this time. Those guys were playing baseball. We had the memorabilia in here and we had the way to get it, directly from the athletes,” Davis Sr. said of the shop’s rise in popularity.
But with shows like Pawn Stars and Hardcore Pawn already competing in the ratings, what’s the appeal for another “pawn-themed” half-hour of television?
“It’s the family attitude and what we do in the store and out of the store, and our opinions on sports,” Davis Sr. said. “We do all kinds of stuff. We go to the golf range and play golf. We go to the bowling alley and bowl. Pete Rose takes us to the batting cage and we have a batting lesson. Jalen Rose plays basketball against us out back in the parking lot. It’s going to be crazy.”
In one episode, Davis Jr. travels to Cooperstown in search of a present for his father. He spends $7,500 on a piece of sports history, that we don’t want to give away (although a reader may be able to guess by scrolling through the photos attached to this story).
In the episode, Davis Sr.—who is grateful for the gift—questions where his son found the money to afford such a high-profile luxury item. The segment concludes with Davis Sr. discovering he’s missing a rather large check from the shop.