Wander Franco and the Unanticipated Fallout

by Ron Shandler

In mid-August 2023, Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco was placed on administrative leave for allegations that he had an inappropriate relationship with a minor. As more accusers came forward, his fate grew more and more precarious. As of today, we still don’t know what effect this will have on his career.

When that happened, the interior pages of Fantasy Expert had already been finalized for two months. But there was a problem. On the very last page of the book, I speculate about the future of the products I have created. I wrote: “Ron Shandler’s Baseball Forecaster will become obsolete one day too, likely bought out by an intergalactic gaming consortium in the year after Wander Franco’s great-grandson graces the cover.”

I panicked and called my editor. She told me that the book had not yet been printed and the sentence would be changed. But somehow, there was a miscommunication, and 300 copies made it into the world with an alleged statutory rapist connected to the book that I built my career on. Those 300 copies were printed as a special pre-release paperback for attendees of First Pitch Arizona in November 2023.

Well, the galleys were promptly corrected – and changed to Ronald Acuna – for the hardcover edition due out in February 2024. But there are still  300 copies of a Wander Franco edition out there.

I suppose there is an upside. If you are one of the lucky owners of the Wander Franco edition and if the book becomes a mega-bestseller, you might own a rare collectible that could fetch megabucks on eBay. Perhaps its fate will mirror that of the 1989 baseball card of Billy Ripken that has been infamously immortalized. Basically, it could be worth more than what you paid for it. Or not.