Astros' authentication team making sure memorabilia is real deal

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- While the Houston Astros are taking on the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series, there will be another team on the field looking at the game like crime scene investigators.

The Astros' authentication team isn't working security. Their job is preserving history.

Mike Acosta is the authentication manager. He and his team keep track of game memorabilia, from baseballs and bats, to uniforms, cleats-- even dirt.

"The rules are very, very strict," Acosta said. "If (a game ball) was to make in contact with a fan, we can't authenticate it."

With the help of off-duty police officers, Acosta keeps tabs on everything used during the games. His team has to keep a clear chain of custody, according to MLB guidelines.

They keep the stuff locked away in what amounts to an evidence room.

"We have history happen here every day," he said.

This strict process helps the MLB and fans know the memorabilia is the real deal. Some of the items go to players and teams while others may end up on sale for fans.

While fans are cheering, the authentication team is tracking balls and bats, both with their eyes and electronically.

They keep detailed records showing every pitch and play each item is involved with.

"We've been doing the same thing even in the lean years. When we lost 111 games or whatever that was. We were still doing the same process," Acosta said.

Now, that the Astros are advancing the process is a lot more fun.

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