MLB, police target counterfeit merchandise during All-Star week

The official MLB merchandise stand at Angels Stadium in Anaheim
The official MLB merchandise stand at Angels Stadium in Anaheim
Brian Watt/KPCC

Major League Baseball’s All Star Game takes place next Tuesday at Angels Stadium in Anaheim. The League is working with the Anaheim Police Department to crack down on the sale of counterfeit and unlicensed merchandise.

Major League Baseball senior vice president and general counsel Ethan Orlinsky showed reporters the raised red stitch hologram sticker that makes a T-shirt or hat an official MLB product.

"There are things that you can’t see to the naked eye that we can when we’re going around to see if somebody’s trying to knock off the hologram," Orlinsky explained

The League runs undercover investigations against merchandise counterfeiters year-round. But it ramps them up every year for All-Star week.

"We’re gonna be everywhere," said Orlinsky. "We’re gonna be obviously in the high traffic areas most often, but we’ll be in the flea markets, we’ll be in surrounding areas, we’ll be in merchandising locations, we’ll be everywhere. You may not be able to identify us, but we’ll be there."

That includes on the sidewalks and sidestreets, looking for unlicensed vendors. The MLB cited statistics from the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition that says businesses worldwide lose an estimated $600-700 billion annually to counterfeiting. Orlinsky added that governments and taxpayers lose hundreds of millions, too, because the sale of unlicensed products usually goes untaxed.

Police will also target the sale of counterfeit tickets to the game. The penalty for selling a bogus ticket: up to three years in prison and a quarter million dollars in fines.